Senior Partnerships Adviser
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has profiled eight organisations using smart strategies to create greater equality between women and men in their workplaces.
WGEA Director Libby Lyons said employers were increasingly aware of the strong business case for improving gender equality in the workplace and looking for ways to create lasting change.
“Sometimes it is hard for employers to know where to start,” said Ms Lyons. “We know that employers are very interested in effective strategies to address key challenges like pay equity, workforce segregation and women’s leadership representation. We hope these inspiring stories will generate ideas and drive change.”
Challenges and solutions
Fact: 80% of care workers are women and by 2050 the current workforce of 350,000 needs to triple.
Benetas is actively challenging stereotypes around men working in healthcare and is using flexibility and primary carer’s leave as a recruiting drawcard to get men into healthcare. In 2015 it introduced superannuation payments for all staff on paid parental leave to help ease the financial pressure of taking time out of the workforce for women and men.
Fact: The national gender pay gap is currently 16%. One contributing factor is the difficulty for women who work part-time in accessing career development opportunities.
HESTA’S pay gap analysis led to an overhaul of company processes and initiated a raft of actions that have helped increase the equality of access to career development opportunities within the company. This includes making sure that part-timers receive the same budget for training and development as full-timers.
Fact: Only 16% of CEOs and 27% of Key Management Personnel in Australia are women.
Griffith University developed a leadership program to identify potential and build capability of existing female employees. The first two-year program resulted in 10 promotions for women.
Fact: By 2030 there will be a shortfall of nurses of 123,000. Currently only 1 in 10 nurses are male.
Mercy Health is working to recruit more young males as carers and nurses to help redress the unbalanced gender mix in the industry and prepare for the increasing demand for healthcare workers as the population ages.
Fact: Women make up only 27.8% of the ICT workforce in Australia.
MYOB’s 16-week in-house DevelopHer program successfully trained three women who had no previous experience of IT to a level where they were offered a job in a development team. With a shortage of female graduates in IT, the company hopes this innovative ‘returnship’ model will be extended across the industry.
Fact: Flexibility is linked to improved gender equality outcomes by assisting employees to manage work and caring responsibilities. 16% of organisations reporting to WGEA have a flexible working strategy and 52% have a flexible working policy.
NAB has developed a self-service, flexible working intranet site where employees can manage their formal or informal flexible working arrangements directly with their manager, ranging from part-time and remote working, to job share and transition to retirement.
Fact: Mining is Australia’s most male-dominated industry; 84% of employees are men.
St Barbara’s strategy of target-setting, supported by regular monitoring, measuring and reporting to the executive has helped increase female recruitment and achieved a 100% return-to-work rate after parental leave.
Fact: 48% of Australian organisations offer paid primary carer’s leave, 5.1% offer on-site childcare and 3.1% offer subsidised childcare.
Stockland has developed a strong program to support parents and carers, to attract and retain employees. Initiatives include building on-site childcare, expanding the range of parental leave benefits and strongly promoting primary carer’s leave to male employees.