ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Earnings outcomes in metropolitan and regional labour markets: A gender-based analysis for New South Wales and Victoria 2006 Census year (2014 - ongoing)

ILWS Strategic Area

Sustainable Business Development in Regional Australia SRA




A/Prof PK Basu, Prof John Hicks and Dr Girijasankar Mallik (University of Western Sydney)


This project was one of a number of labour market projects undertaken by members of the Sustainable Business Development in Regional Australia SRA.

The researchers have attempted to analyse gender and regional issues together in the context of the Australian labour market in order to identify the existence and degrees of income and wage discrimination. Most studies on labour market features and outcomes in Australia have focused either on issues related to regions or on gender, but rarely have both aspects been considered simultaneously.

Using Confidentialised Unit Record Files  (CURF) data of the 2006 Census the research analysed the determinants of weekly incomes and hourly wage rates by gender in two major Australian metropolitan cities (Sydney and Melbourne) and the respective regional areas of each state (regional NSW and regional Victoria). Using the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition procedure this research confirms that gender discrimination exists in major Australian labour markets. The extent of income discrimination was significantly higher than for wage discrimination as Australia follows non-discriminatory wage policies.

The research identified three aspects of discrimination. First, positive discrimination against women exists in all labour markets studied. Second, the level of discrimination against women was consistently higher in regions than in metropolitan cities in both states - mainly due to limited job opportunities and lower ownership of income earning assets by women in the regions. Third, between the two states studied, Victoria revealed a higher level of discrimination against women than NSW.


Hicks, J., Mallik, G., Basu, P.K. (2018) Earnings outcomes in metropolitan and regional labour markets- a gender based analysis for New South Wales and Victoria, in Rotschedl, J. and Cermakova, K. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 38th International Academic Conference, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences: Prague, June 11-14. pp.64-88.

A paper on the researchers' findings was presented at a Faculty of Business seminar in June, 2015.


As NSW and Victoria account for 58 percent of the Australian population, these results may have a more general applicability for policy designed to counteract the adverse impact of discrimination by gender throughout metropolitan and regional Australia.


Prof John Hicks
Charles Sturt University – Bathurst

March 2019