Gender pay gap starts early with girls short-changed in pocket money earnings

Girls face a gender pay gap long before they even get their first job, with research showing they’re getting less pocket money than boys.

Girls earn an average of $10.60 in pocket money a week, while boys pocket more than a dollar a week more, at $11.80. The news is not how my brother remembers earning pocket money, however. We’d spent the morning raking the leaves in an elderly neighbour’s garden for her to pay me $1 because I was 10 years old – and my brother 80 cents because he was eight. Mum rectified this pay gap and handed my brother 20 cents to even up the score.

Parents from all over Australia were asked to give insight into the pocket money dealings within their families for the 2015 Australian Pocket Money Survey.

While the survey shows girls are being dudded out of extra cash, they’re not entirely hard done by. Children this year are earning more than ever with an almost 50 per cent increase in the amount of pocket money being handed over by parents since 2013, the survey says. From there the money is put into savings or splashed on toys and lollies.

The survey, commissioned by Heritage Bank, also shows children are working harder for their coins, with 52 per cent having to make their bed to earn some cash.


A steep increase in chore completion across all areas of cleaning, gardening, bed making and pet care is good news for parents who can rejoice at the extra help around the house.

While the pay gap between sexes remains, the survey uncovered a pay gap between states and also with the money given to children in rural and metro areas.

The results show the average Aussie child is earning $11.30 per week, with Queensland children earning $9.20 – well below their NSW counterparts who are on $13.50 a week, a difference of $200 a year. Children in regional areas earn, on average, $4 less per week than their city peers.

Research analyst Kathryn Plevey says the pocket money pay gap between states and rural/metro placement could be a direct flow-on effect from the cost of living in these areas and the average household income in each.

Heritage Bank chief executive John Minz says it’s promising to see kids are saving more than ever but he’s concerned about a drop off in the number of kids having their own savings account.

“We’ve seen a four per cent decrease in kids across Australia having their own savings account and that’s a worry,” he says. “Giving children their own savings account is an important part of building financial confidence and helps them understand how saving money works.”

The opportunity to experience opening an account, depositing, withdrawing and earning interest on pocket money is priceless, Mr Minz says. “Almost half of parents surveyed believe the way their children receive and use pocket money has a direct impact on their relationship with money.”

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