While Australia is making progress on many aspects of gender equality, female representation in leadership continues to be a cause for concern.
Women remain underrepresented at every stage of the career pipeline in Australia, with poor representation at the C-suite and CEO levels. In the 2017-18 WGEA dataset, only 17% of CEOs were women. Research shows that most CEO appointments come from line roles such a Chief Operating Officer and that roughly 30% of key management positions are held by women in Australia today. Many of them are in support roles such as Head of Human Resources.
The Business Council of Australia, McKinsey & Company and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency teamed up to undertake a study using three years of WGEA data and more than 40 interviews. The result, Women in Leadership: Lessons from Australian companies leading the way, provides an evidence-based recipe for dismantling barriers to women’s participation at senior levels and a correlation between representation of women in senior roles and the practice of normalising flexible work.
Based on the observations of leading practice made for the report, a 10-step recipe for getting more women into leadership was designed:
|1||Build a strong case for change|
|2||Role-model a commitment to diversity, including with business partners|
|3||Redesign roles and work to enable flexible work and normalise uptake across levels and genders|
|4||Actively sponsor rising women|
|5||Set a clear diversity aspiration, backed up by accountability|
|6||Support talent through life transitions|
|7||Ensure the infrastructure is in place to support a more inclusive and flexible workplace|
|8||Challenge traditional views of merit in recruitment and evaluation|
|9||Invest in frontline leader capabilities to drive cultural change|
|10||Develop rising women and ensure experience in key roles|