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What are Gender Equality Statistics Telling You?

What are Gender Equality Statistics Telling You?

Diversity Council Australia’s view of the statistics

Key results from the Workplace Gender Equality (WGE) Agency’s 2013-14 reporting data were released on 25 November 2014 providing clear evidence that women are under-represented at all senior management levels (see Table 1).

Diversity Council Australia’s CEO, Lisa Annese, said “While many of us have long suspected these results, it is still confronting to be reminded of the extent of gender inequality in Australian workplaces. Employers are now able to access detailed and accurate baseline data relating to gender equity for all management categories. It is high time that we stopped ignoring the evidence and started responding to the facts.” 1

How else might these results be viewed?

The data collected by the WGEA reveals a relatively poor performance by Australian businesses.  As a male who has owned, directed and advised businesses in many parts of the world, there is no doubt in my mind that having equality of opportunity and remuneration for all participants in our workforce will deliver significant business benefits through improved  innovation, creativity, decision-making, engagement, risk management, customer/client relations and, above all, access to the broadest available pool of the best talent.

My view is that business owners and senior levels of management will respond more positively by highlighting to them the missed business opportunities from their slow engagement with workforce diversity and the creation of an inclusive culture, than they will by only highlighting the bare statistics outlining their ‘failures’.

There is no doubt this is a complex and emotive area.  However, there is also no doubting the findings of a multitude of research projects, or the stories related by the CEOs of some of Australia’s largest companies – that the business benefits are real and achievable, and will create competitive advantage.

For me, it is as much the duty of a Board, an Executive team, or a SME owner, to take advantage of the business benefits promised by the purposeful leveraging of workforce diversity (including gender equality), as it is for them to take advantage of other clear business enhancement opportunities. They owe it to their shareholders, business partners and themselves to understand and act upon this opportunity.

From the statistics provided in the very thorough WGEA report, the vast majority of Australian businesses are missing out on the opportunity to achieve these benefits.

The challenge for business is not the achievement of compliant headcount numbers, but the achievement of the improved profitability, sustainability and social responsibility that comes from the purposeful leveraging of diversity.

1. Diversity Council Australia ‘The numbers are in….and gender equality doesn’t score well’, viewed 26 November 2014 at http://dca.org.au/NewsCat/News

Table 1.

Workplace Gender Equality (WGE) Agency’s 2013-14 reporting data

Key Results

Representation of women in management

  • The representation of women steadily declines when moving up the management levels, with women comprising only 26.1% of key management personnel (KMP) positions, and 17.3% of CEO positions.
  • One-third (33.5%) of employers have no KMPs who are women, and 31.3% of organisations have no ‘other executives / general managers’ who are women.
  • Less than one in 10 (8.8%) organisations have set a target to lift the number of women around the boardroom table despite only 23.7% of directorships being held by women, and just 12.0% of chairs being women.

Gender pay gap

  • For full-time base remuneration, the gender pay gap is 19.9%.
  • Full-time total remuneration, the gender pay gap 24.7%.
  • Less than one in four employers has conducted a gender remuneration gap analysis to check for potential pay equity issues.

Flexible working

  • Only 13.6% of employers have a strategy for flexible working and only 13.2% of employers have a strategy to support employees with family or caring responsibilities.

Organisational strategy

  • Few employers are taking a strategic whole-of-enterprise approach to gender equality. Only 7.1% of employers have a standalone overall gender equality strategy.

 



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