Learning Forum: November 2019
In this Learning Forum we discussed the new Gender Equality scorecard that is released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Our Future Women Editor-at-Large Jamila Rizvi summarised the findings:
- The gender pay gap has fallen to 20.8 percent, down 0.5 percentage points from last year. This leaves men, on average, earning $25,679 a year more than women.
- Almost fifty percent of employers now offer paid parental leave, and around 44 percent offer secondary carer’s leave. These figures are, however, growing at glacial pace.
- Men keep getting left behind with family policies focusing on women. Only 2.3 percent of companies set targets for men’s engagement with flexible work. We’ll never see real change for women at work, until men are supported to step up at home.
- 74 percent of major employers have a gender equality strategy, yet only a third set actual KPIs for their managers.
- Gender balance stalls at the top. A mere 17 percent of CEOs are women and board representation sits at around 27 percent.
To keep you motivated to strengthen your D&I efforts in the light of these results, we recommend an article on the Academy about the ten actions that drive change for gender equality in organisations. These are based on findings by the Business Council of Australia, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and McKinsey & Company. In 2017, they published findings of their analysis of the last three years of workplace gender reporting data and conducted over 40 interviews in companies with a higher than average representation of women in leadership roles.
During the learning forum, we heard several positive stories from Academy members about ways they’re progressing diversity and inclusion, including:
- Improved parental leave offerings
- Evolution of D&I council from senior leadership members (who commissioned external research and developed a three-year strategy for the organisation as it was starting out on renewed D&I efforts) to a broader council with employee representatives (for the implementation phase)
- Strategy workshops with the CEO and senior leaders in one organisation – previously D&I has been run by an employee-led body focused on events (with limited impact on changing systems and policies)
- Board member ‘fireside chats’ to engage employees on the importance of diversity
- Lean-in circles to build internal networks for women
We highlighted the importance of evolving your D&I efforts over time from strategic design and senior leadership accountability to engaging a broader base of employees.
We also discussed some initiatives to achieve a more culturally diverse leadership, referring to research on the bamboo ceiling in Australia. For those wanting to know more, here’s a recent article from Gareth Evans from his welcoming address to the Asian-Australian Leadership Summit in September who wrote: ‘The “bamboo ceiling” in Australia is real. Asian-Australians now comprise up 12 per cent of our total population but hold only around 3 per cent of senior leadership positions in our public institutions and ASX 200 companies.’
We also recommend this excellent piece from SBS that talks about the importance of culturally diverse role-models and setting targets.