*Statistics from the Australian Institute of Company Directors‘ (AICD) most recent gender diversity report indicate that the campaign to increase female representation on ASX 200 boards is far from over. According to AICD’s Gender diversity progress report for the period March – May 2017 the percentage of women being appointed to ASX 200 boards has fallen in the in the first six months of this year. There are still 13 companies on the ASX 200 with no women on their boards, and the drop in female appointments means the AICD’s target of achieving 30% female representation by the end of 2018 may be slipping out of reach.
While progress has disappointingly slowed in achieving the 30% target for women on ASX 200 boards, DCC Jobs* is pleased to feature some great steps forward DCC Endorsed Employers for Women are making. This article was originally published on pages 21-22 in the AICD Gender Diversity Report. Read the full report here.
Australian Companies Truly Supporting Gender Equality
DCC Jobs* was founded in 2015 to empower women and fast-track gender equality. DCC* is Australia’s only jobs board that pre-screens companies before they can advertise to ensure they support women’s careers. DCC* Endorsed Employers report on their progress via their profile pages, where women can assess each employer based on information such as amount of paid parental leave, focus on pay equity, flexible working arrangements, employee engagement scores plus much more. This information is not publicly listed elsewhere and forms a valuable tool for job seekers.
We have seen amazing results from DCC* Endorsed Employers in their efforts to promote gender equality at work. Compiled below is a list of the most impressive initiatives to date.
A number of DCC* Endorsed Employers have been working towards becoming a Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Pay Equity Ambassador and we congratulate the newest CEOs on the list from Laing O’Rourke, Robert Bird Group and QinetiQ. To become a Pay Equity Ambassador, their organization must have:
Undertaken a pay gap analysis of its workforce in the last two years,
Taken action on the results, and
Communicated their pay equity initiatives to their employees.
Tackling the gender super gap is another priority for our Endorsed Employers, recognizing the structural impediments currently resulting in women retiring with an average of 47% less in super compared to men. Schneider Electric along with BHP, Aurecon, Australian Super, BOQ, Avanade, Cbus, CommBank, Thales and NAB all pay super whilst on unpaid parental leave. This is an extremely important initiative to make super fair.
AECOM has invested in closing the gender pay gap and in the space of 12 months, reduced the gap by 3.4% across its 2,750 Australian employees.
“When hiring women, AECOM compares their salary expectations to what their male peers at the company are receiving to make sure they are not selling themselves short. For example, if the company believed a senior engineer was worth $100,000 but a female applicant asked for a $90,000 salary because she had been underpaid in her past role, AECOM would offer her $100,000.”
When McCullough Robertson (McR) participated in the DCC 2016 International Women’s Day #PledgeForParity campaign, Guy Humble, (Business Unit Leader for Litigation and Disputes Resolution and Chair of Diversity Committee) voiced his concern at the gender pay gap of 34.3% within the legal industry. McR are addressing this through additional superannuation payments for women on maternity leave and Guy asked other firms to consider this.
Support for Working Parents
AGL Energy have recently set a new industry standard and increased their paid parental leave for primary carers from 14 weeks to 20 weeks, just 12 months after being approved by DCC*.
Laing O’Rourke offers an industry leading, 26 weeks of paid leave, 18 of which are at full pay, and eight weeks at half pay.
At Zendesk, all employees in Australia with greater than six months service, have access to 16 weeks of paid parental leave. This includes both primary and secondary carers. This leave has no bearing on whether the employee’s partner is also the recipient of paid parental leave, or government benefits.
Aurecon has launched Australia’s first ‘Shared Care’ parental leave scheme among large engineering firms. Focusing on providing financial incentive options that support secondary carers to step into primary carer roles including paying a 150% salary if the Aurecon employee returns to Aurecon and their partner is taking over as primary carer and can’t access paid primary carers leave through their own employer. This is a similar scheme to Aurizon’s, which was announced in 2016.
“QinetiQ Australia have just announced they are boosting their paid parental leave for primary carers to 16 weeks, and for secondary carers to 3 weeks. In addition, all staff who have been with the company for less than 12 months will be eligible for 6 weeks paid parental leave with no minimum qualifying period.”
Schneider Electric and City of Melbourne have also removed the 12 months minimum tenure required for employees to be eligible for paid parental leave and at BHP, only a 3 month waiting period applies to both full time and part time staff.
Smaller businesses are also building more inclusive policies from day one, such as Common Code, a company with just over 30 staff who offer 8 weeks paid parental leave to either the primary or secondary carers.
Normalizing Flexible Working Arrangements
Flexible working arrangements was the second most important workplace initiative according to the women in our survey results and in 2016, DCC* introduced the Flex Able Certification to help women identify the companies truly walking the talk on flexible working. The certification is awarded to employers who are audited and approved to have a flexible environment in which job seekers are assured they can discuss working flexibility at the interview stage.
“Earlier this year, Colin Biggers & Paisley (CBP) became Australia’s first legal firm to be awarded the Flex Able Certification. This is a big step forward in the legal profession well known for its conservative view on work/life balance. CBP allows all staff to negotiate their own flexible working arrangements. Marcus Carbone, a lawyer at CBP is a great example of utilizing their flexible working policy to combine a professional career with a rugby career.”
AECOM have formally abolished start and finish times from all staff contracts and all Australian and New Zealand team members have access to: flexible start and finish times, two weeks purchased additional leave, the option to work from home, part-time work and job sharing.
At Aurecon, employees do not have to put a business case forward to work flexibly. This is the foundation of Aurecon’s Yes Flex initiative, which empowers staff to nominate their daily start and end times across their working week. Whilst some guidelines exist to ensure staff well-being and to support managers to lead flexible teams, Yes Flex takes pride in its own flexibility. Taking away reasons for flexible working has resulted in many more men taking up flexible working. There has also been an increase in staff well-being as people can coordinate exercise and self-care or mental health breaks into their weekly schedules when it suits them to do so.
*This article references Diversity City Careers or DCC. This is what WORK180 was known as when we first launched back in 2015. You can find out more about our story here.