Demand for technical and STEM skills is high in the current market and as Aurecon seeks to solve problems with clients that are complex and multi-dimensional, this demand will continue to grow. Aurecon has recognised the importance of increasing diversity to strengthen its business operations and connect with untapped talent. Concurrently, Aurecon is building an inclusive culture to support all employees to feel valued, have a sense of belonging and have equal access to opportunities.
In 2017, women represented 29% of Aurecon’s total workforce, with much lower percentages at middle and senior levels.
Aurecon decided to increase female representation by taking a range of actions from recruitment through to progression and retention.
Whilst ensuring the focus remained on a broad definition of diversity and inclusion, Aurecon implemented a plan to specifically improve the gender balance of its workforce, particularly in professional roles, technical roles and in leadership positions. The strategic focus included leadership, policies, language and behaviour, and targets.
Aurecon’s most senior leaders, Global CEO William Cox and Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Louise Adams, priortise diversity and inclusion in the business’ strategy through language, action and investment.
Aurecon’s policies have all been reviewed to ensure they are gender neutral and explicitly inclusive. Three policies support gender diversity and inclusion in particular: ‘all roles flex’ flexible working, parental leave and domestic and family violence.
The most important influence on organisational culture is language and behaviour. Progressive policies are ineffective unless employees see senior leaders role modelling them and bringing them to life, for example working flexibly and taking parental leave. The way leaders and team members interact day-to-day, the language they use and the way leaders make decisions and share their time and attention also affects equal or unequal treatment and access to opportunities. Aurecon supports inclusive language and behaviours through inclusive leadership training, the use of Diversity Council Australia and Aurecon’s Words@Work research and the Leadership Shadow tool (created by Male Champions of Change and Chief Executive Women).
In 2017, Aurecon set targets for total workforce and mid-level management to shine a light on barriers to equality. The targets were for female representation of the workforce to increase to 35% by 2021, with 15% at Level 7 and 20% at Level 8. Aurecon continued with its leadership program, Ascend, which is designed specifically to empower and support Aurecon’s high potential women to use strengths-based leadership to determine and navigate their own unique path to achieving their potential.
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