Senior Partnerships Adviser
Alcoa : Catalyst for Change
With a workforce made up of 83% male and 13% female employees, Alcoa has created Catalyst for Change (C4C), a call to action initiative run across the organisation to improve Alcoa’s retention of women.
By publicly pledging to be a Catalyst for Change – by posting pledges on work stations at the refineries, mine sites and head office – leaders raise awareness of the company’s desire to create an environment where talented women are supported to progress through the company ranks.
C4C was created because Alcoa was not meeting its target of a 2% increase, year on year, of female employees. Leaders in the company said they wanted to do more to create diversity but didn’t feel they had the tools or influence.
After 16 months of C4C, more female operators are being offered secondments in areas outside of their expertise and putting up their hands for opportunities when they previously lacked the sponsorship and confidence. There have been a record number of female apprentices employed in 2016 and managers are now actively seeking mentoring opportunities for women in their teams.
Kylie Haines has worked for Alcoa for 22 years and is currently on a 12-month secondment working as a Residue Production Maintenance Coordinator. Working with a team of around 30 people, her job involves planning and coordinating the removal of bauxite refining tailings at Pinjarra alumina refinery 85km south of Perth.
“I felt a bit intimidated when I stepped into the new role but I just kept remembering the advice I received from the Alcoa Women’s Network mentoring program where they said, ‘Women often think they have to be 100% qualified and confident to apply for a new role, but no one ever steps into a role with 100% knowledge’. And I also knew that at Alcoa if you are willing to put in the effort and learn then you will always be supported.
“I was in my twenties when I started and guys would look at me and say, ‘Wow there’s a female’. Now the guys don’t bat an eyelid when they see a woman – we have female tradies and operators now when historically people said a woman couldn’t do those jobs."
Alcoa has held the EOCGE citation since 2002.
Mirvac: Top-down change for women in leadership
Mirvac is now one of a handful of ASX-200 listed companies to have 50% or more female directors on the Board and one of the ways they tackled this is through target setting. Originally aiming to achieve 50% women on the board by 2018 – the target was reached in March 2015.
The company found that for target setting to succeed there needs to be top-down support and accountability through reporting progress to management. Mirvac tracks and reports against the female representation targets on a monthly basis, including the percentage of females at senior management level, management level, in the construction division and in the workplace.
The company also requires 50% of candidates on leadership shortlists to be female, but it’s made clear that only viable candidates are included on the short-list. The percentage of female applicants shortlisted is also reported in a monthly HR scorecard which goes to the CEO and Managing Director.
Mirvac has held the EOCGE citation since 2014.
PwC : Expanding the definition of flexibility
For PwC flexible working is not just for parents or people with carer responsibilities, but for everyone to achieve a work-life balance. Fundamentally, it’s about changing focus from measuring inputs (hours at the desk) to measuring outputs – that is, focusing on whether the job gets done, rather than how, where or when it gets done.
PwC Australia ran a pilot All Roles Flex program in early 2015 and extended the program to all 6,000 employees in August 2015 and currently 64% of employees use some type of flexible working arrangement. Successful flexibility requires an arrangement that suits the individual, their role, and the needs of their team, clients and the firm; it also has to be adaptable.
Before implementing the program PwC undertook an internal survey where 54% of people said they would need more flexibility in their role in the short to medium term. Since rolling out the program employee engagement levels have risen and feedback has been universally positive.
“In my own role, my line in the sand is drawn at weekend work and travel as this is my family time,” says Luke Sayers, CEO, PwC Australia. “With the exception of a very few special circumstances, I have successfully made it a rule that I have no late appointments on Friday afternoons. I realise this is by no means a revolutionary example, but I can assure you that these arrangements aren't the norm for many CEOs.”
PwC has held the EOCGE citation for seven years.
AECOM: Aiming for 50:50 graduate recruitment
In 2016 engineering and construction company AECOM hired around 130 graduates across Australia and New Zealand with just under 30% females, but CEO Lara Poloni and the Executive team wanted to do better and set a target of 50/50 gender split.
To achieve this, a more strategic approach was required for the 2017 intake to attract a wide range of graduates and to elevate AECOM’s on-campus profile.
Gamification tools were used as part of the short-listing assessment process, with eligible graduates logging in from home to complete an aptitude assessment. Testing numerical reasoning, spatial awareness and mental agility, the assessment comprises of four parts which look and feel like a computer game. The game-based model feels less like a test and reduces the potential anxiety some candidates could feel about completing an assessment.
“Considering the low representation of women studying STEM subjects in Australia, I’m proud of the 2017 graduate recruitment intake of 170,” says Poloni. “We have managed to achieve a 46:54 gender split – with 100% gender pay equity.”
There is still a real challenge to achieve the 50/50 split, but the undergraduate recruitment strategy continues to evolve and the company continues to develop relationships with female student societies on campus and are also hosting in-house women in STEM events.
AECOM has held the EOCGE citation for four years.
Australian Catholic University (ACU): Supporting older workers’ transition to retirement
ACU’s Transition to Retirement Program is a ground-breaking initiative that allows all staff over fifty to transition from full time work and plan for their retirement over a period of three to five years. Eligible staff can reduce their workload and salary to as little as 60% of their full-time equivalent workload, while retaining superannuation benefits at the full-time rate. The program empowers these staff members to flexibly structure their retirement to suit individual work-life balance preferences and financial needs.
The program supports ACU’s commitment to staff wellbeing, and acknowledges the valuable contribution of staff members over 50 years of age. It’s also designed to proactively address issues associated with an ageing population that is affecting Australian employers, particularly in the higher education sector, by encouraging staff to plan for their retirement and supporting them to share their skills, knowledge and experience with others to leave a lasting legacy.
The Transition to Retirement Program is part of ACU’s suite of programs and policies that support staff through the transitions during their working life, including access to up to 12 months paid parental leave and a range of options to work flexibly.
ACU has held the EOCGE citation for six years.
The EOCGE citation commenced in 2014, replacing the predecessor citation, the EOWA Employer of Choice for Women which commenced in 2002.