• J16;
  • J31;
  • J7

Using the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, this paper analyses the gender wage gaps across the wage distribution in both the public and private sectors in Australia. Quantile regression techniques are used to control for various characteristics at different points of the wage distributions. Counterfactual decomposition analysis, adjusted for the quantile regression framework, is used to examine if the gap is attributed to gender differences in characteristics, or to the differing returns between genders. The main finding is that a strong glass ceiling effect is detected only in the private sector. A second finding is that the acceleration in the gender gap across the distribution does not vanish even after account is taken of an extensive set of statistical controls. This suggests that the observed wage gap is a result of differences in returns to genders. By focusing only on the mean gender wage gap, substantial variations of the gap will be hidden.