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08 Aug 2015

POSTED BY David Jackson IN Career Opportunities, Content, General, recruitment, Recruitment & Career | Aug 8th, 2015 | no responses

Gender Equality for a More Progressive Australian Workplace

Gender equality at the workplace is truly accomplished when employees can access and enjoy the same professional opportunities, resources and rewards, irrespective of whether they are women or men. In recent decades, several countries around the world, including Australia, have made momentous progress in passing legislations to establish gender equality at the workplace and extend equal employment opportunities to their workforce. For example, The Workplace Gender Equality Act of 2012 passed by the Australian Government, which replaced erstwhile The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act of 1999 reinforced stringent laws to uphold equality for both men and women at the workplace.

However, gross lacunas still exist in Australian workplaces that make it difficult for women employees to earn salaries that are at par with their male counterparts and bag promotions to advance their careers. Male employees on the other hand find it difficult to benefit from family-friendly work policies or flexible work arrangements that are especially formulated and reserved for women.

The Australian Workplace Gender Equality Act of 2012 broadly aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Improve and promote gender equality in employment as well as in the workplace
  • Equal remuneration for men and women for equal or comparable value of work
  • Removal of barriers that restrict women from participating in the workforce equally and fully
  • Elimination of gender discrimination and biases at the time of hiring
  • Access to all occupations and roles, including senior leadership positions based on individual talent and not on gender
  • Elimination of gender bias and discrimination in matters related to family care
  •  Foster workplace productivity, profitability and competitiveness at the Australian workplace by following gender equality in employment The Real Scenario Based on comprehensive data provided by Australian companies, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has unfolded some stark facts: Overall Gender Equality & Flexible Work
  • Only 7.1% of Australian organisations have an impartial overall gender equality strategy
  • While 53.6% of all Australian employers have flexible working policies, only 13.6% actually follow these policies
  • 45.2% of Australian employers have a policy for supporting employees with family care responsibilities, however, only 13.2% follow a strategy to implement the policy Representation
  • Women comprise 39.8% of ‘Other Managers’ in Australia’s leadership pipeline, but only 26.1% make it to the key Management Personnel (KMP) group, out of which only 17.3% become CEOs
  • About 33.5% (one-third) of Australian employers do not have female KMPs
  • 31.3% Australian companies do not have women General Managers or other executives
  • Even in the managerial hierarchy, the top three layers have a total women representation of only 26.2% Remuneration
  • In Australia, a full-time working woman’s base salary is 19.9% less than that of a full-time working man. Their total remuneration, including overtime work, bonuses and allowances is 24.7% less than that of men.
  • Out of 48.9% employers having a remuneration policy, only 18.1% have explicit gender pay equity strategies in their policy
  • Based on the total remuneration for full-time employment, the largest gender pay gap lies at the KMP at a meagre 28.9%; Other Executives and General Manager positions show a gender pay gap 27.5%, followed by 24.6% at Other Managers and 23.5% at General Manager positions
  • The largest gender pay gap at both KMP and ‘Other Managers’ levels occurs in Administrative and Support Services at a glaring 44.7% and 23.1% respectively. They are followed by a 35.1% gender pay gap in Arts and Recreation Services
  • The largest gender pay gap for Other Executives and General Manager positions is seen in Finance and Insurance Services with the overall figures escalating to 34.4%. At 28.7%, Retail has the largest gender pay gap for Senior Managers

Source: https://www.wgea.gov.au/about-wgea

Problems Associated with Current Failings

The above data clearly highlights that women in Australia do not have the same working and earning opportunities as men. Employers do not have an actionable strategy in place to attract, train, retain and promote women, especially those who fall in the childbearing age group, which makes opportunities of career development even bleaker. While women may gravitate positions that are perceived as being of lower value (for example, HR Manager), they are very less likely to become CEOs or take on other senior executive roles, (such as Head of Finance) that are placed at a much higher worth. The problem may be associated with the pervasive culture of viewing the male as the ‘breadwinner’, which creates deep gender biases that need immediate tacking.

The Benefits of Workplace Gender Equality

The Grattan Institute, Australia’s leading think tank advocates that removing gender inequality should be an economic reform priority for employers. It also suggests that increasing the participation of women by a mere 6% at Australian workplaces will potentially add over $25 billion to the Australian economy each year, thereby increasing the country’s economic growth and competitiveness.

Here are a few benefits of implementing gender equality at the workplace:

  • Attract top talent: Equal employment opportunity extends great prospects for talented men and women to apply to lucrative jobs. By implementing gender equality, organisations increase their access to a growing talent pool of service professionals, irrespective of their sexual category.
  • Reduce recruitment expenses: No employee would leave a company that offers equal work and career development opportunities. Gender equality creates the right conditions for both men and women workers to stick to their jobs, thereby cutting down on the rate of employee attrition and replacement or re-recruitment expenses.
  • Improve performance: Gender equality at the workplace helps to bring in diverse perspectives to improve decision and pool in collective efforts to improve an organisation’s overall performance.
  • Stop the wastage of talented resources: Although 58% of Australian university graduates are women, only 67% out of their segment are employed, as compared to 78% of men with a university degree. It is clear that the investment in higher education for women is not being capitalised properly at the professional front. Such talented and highly educated female workforce can make substantial contribution to the Australian economy.
  • Improve the quality of life and society: Gender equality at the workplace balances the scales for both women and men. When both genders can contribute equally at their place of work and at home, their standard of living and quality of life improves manifold. Such enhancement leads to the development of the society as a whole.

Women are amongst the world’s most under-utilised resources.

Even in the most developed countries like Australia, working women are expected to do twice as much to be considered half as good as men. Gender inequality hurts an employer’s social capital. Highly educated and skilled women are an asset to any organisation aspiring to improve its performance, productivity and profit. Gender equality at the workplace empowers the HR to recruit top talent, establishes a congenial work environment that boosts employee morale and improves professional capabilities, and goes a long way in helping a company develop a great employer brand reputation for itself.

S2M prides itself on listing equal employment opportunities for highly qualified and skilled talent at top companies in Australia.

Find the hottest Australian job openings and senior executive positions in Digital, IT, Media, Marketing, Communications, Retail, Sales, Finance and other sectors on www.s2mcom.au

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