Workplace for Gender Equality 2017 National Data Launch

In June 2015, the Committee released its landmark report Filling the Pool, which looked at the gender imbalance in the Australian workforce, particularly in WA. Identifying that Western Australia had the largest pay gap in the country, at 25.3%, the report looked at why women weren't participating or progressing in corporate life and proposed a roadmap of 31 interlocking recommendations for government, the corporate sector and women.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) seeks to promote and improve gender equality in Australian workplaces. Their world-leading dataset covers over 4 million employees in Australia and contains rich information on pay gaps, representation of women and men across industries and employer action to promote gender equality.

At the next Perth in Focus luncheon, Libby Lyons, Director of WGEA will share key findings of the 2016-17 dataset including trends in progress and areas where more action is needed, with a focus on WA-based organisations.

After the keynote address, there will be a Q&A panel session with business leaders, who will reflect on the research nearly two and half years on and will discuss what their organisations are doing to help women progress

Meet our speakers and panellists

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Libby Lyons

Director, The Workplace for Gender Equality Agency

Libby Lyons was appointed Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency in October 2015. She oversees a statutory reporting process which gathers gender equality data from over 12,000 employers and covers more than 4 million Australian employees. Libby, in leading the Agency, is focused on working closely with employers to create workplaces in which the skills, experience and ambitions of employees are equally recognised and rewarded, regardless of their gender.

Prior to joining the Agency Libby had a distinguished career in corporate affairs and government relations, most recently heading BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam corporate affairs division. Before this Libby was General Manager of External Relations at Atlas Iron, and held senior roles at CITIC Pacific Mining, Alcoa Australia, the Western Power Corporation and Telstra.

Libby has always had a strong personal commitment to public service. She started her career as a primary school teacher in the outer-suburbs of Melbourne, has sat on the boards of the non-profit organisations SIDS and Kids WA, and was Executive Chairman for Kalparrin – a charity which supports the carers of children with disabilities.

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Jay Watson

State General Manager, Commercial Banking, Westpac

Jay is a career banker, having worked for Westpac for over 37 years. Jay has been fortunate to have worked in every State and Territory in Australia, and has the benefit of honing his Banking skills through diverse geographies and industries.

Jay takes an active interest in the future direction of Western Australia and is active with the Committee for Perth and its present project Bigger and Better beyond the Boom, working to build strategies and recommendation in regards to broadening the economy of WA. Previously he was a member of Filling the Pool, a deep dive on gender imbalance and strategies to improve career opportunities for the female workforce. Additionally, for the past 3 years he has been involved with Chamber of Commerce WA and its Business Advisory Board. Also he is a regular contributor to CEDA forums and is a Trustee to CEDA.

Having now resided in WA for the past 12 years, and regarding WA as a great place to live and work, Jay is focused on working with stakeholders to build sustainability in the business community. Jay is the Commercial Bank leader tasked with building relationship with the Singapore and Malaysian business/investment community to strengthen pathways between Australia and those countries.

Jay holds a degree in Business Management and has an under graduate certificate in Australian Agriculture. He is involved in fundraising for various causes and an active member of Australian Institute of Company of Directors.

Jay is married to Robyn, a partnership of over 30 years and is the proud father of James and Ben.

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Helen Reid

VP HR Operations, Shell Australia

Helen Reid was appointed VP, HR Operations for Shell Australia in August 2014, a company with 2000 employees and one of the most recognised brands in the world. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the oil and gas sector, as a leader in Human Resources strategy, Organisational Effectiveness, and Executive Coaching.

Helen began her career in Shell as a graduate and has held a series of HR specialist and generalist roles in both the upstream and downstream in Australia, Europe and Asia. After returning from overseas with a young family, Helen left Shell in 2007 to become an independent HR consultant. Over the next 5 years she worked with clients from the mining, resources and electricity sectors with a focus on Organisational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.

In 2012, following Shell’s announcement of its final investment decision (FID) on Prelude, the world’s first floating LNG (FLNG) project, Helen rejoined the company as Learning Manager for Australia. In that role, she oversaw the establishment of the competence development and assurance standards for this world first project. Then, in 2016 as VP HR Operations, Helen had a key leadership role in the BG integration in Australia which was the largest merger in the company’s 116-year history.

Helen sits on the Shell Australia Country Leadership Team, the Shell Australia Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Board and the HR Leadership Team for Shell Integrated Gas.

As a champion for diversity and inclusion, Helen has driven the gender pay gap analysis program in Shell Australia and was proud to collect the 2017 CME Women in Resources Award, for Outstanding Company Initiative for this program.

Helen is a proud mother of two teenage daughters and is an advocate for Shell Australia’s flexible working policies designed to help Shell employees find and maintain their work life balance.

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Michael Parker

Chairman and Managing Director, Alcoa of Australia

Michael Parker is Chairman and Managing Director of Alcoa of Australia, Vice President Alcoa Corporation and President Alcoa Alumina and Australia Region — based in Perth, Western Australia.

Michael is responsible for Alcoa’s global alumina refinery portfolio which includes eight refineries in five countries. Since joining Alcoa Inc. in 1994, Michael has held various management positions in Australia and the United States.

Michael is committed to gender equality and inclusion and firmly believes that companies with gender equality outperform. He is committed to making gender invisible for pay, performance and career advancement at Alcoa.

Michael is a member of the CEOs for Gender Equity, he is a Pay Gap Ambassador with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and the Executive Sponsor for the Alcoa Women’s Network and Chair of Alcoa’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.