Unequal pay? Now that’s monkey business.

Being a female-led organisation, the subject of gender inequality is one we often find ourselves discussing. I find it astounding that statistically the largest gap in pay between genders in Australia comes from key management personnel (executives), meaning that on average, women earn $89,516 less than men in the same role!

And surprisingly we aren’t the only species that expect equal pay for the same work. In 2003, a PHD candidate conducted a study with monkeys, to see how and if they would react to an unfair reward for completing the same task as their peer. 

Pairs (of monkeys) were placed next to each other and trained to exchange a small rock with human handlers within 60 seconds to receive a reward. Partners of the monkeys who made the swap either received either a cucumber slice, or a better reward (a grape, a more desirable food), for the same amount of work or, in some cases, for performing no work at all.

Monkeys who witnessed unfair treatment and failed to benefit from it would often refuse to conduct future exchanges with the human researchers. Instead they wouldn’t eat the cucumbers they received for their labours and in some cases even showed signs of aggression by throwing their food back the researchers!

How is it that in 2018 are we still seeing such a prevalent pay gap? Are we any closer to bridging that gap?

We’d love to hear your thoughts.


Think Talent is committed to actively promoting opportunities for women in leadership. We strive to partner with individuals to assist in creating a strong and confident value proposition.

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Chloe Sharpin

Talent Acquisition Partner