Filling the Pool

With a poor track record of women participating and progressing in corporate life in Perth, the Committee undertook a two-year long, gender equity research project – Filling the Pool.

The project culminated in the launch of the report in 2015 with its road-map of 31 interlocking recommendations for government, the corporate sector and women which produced a roadmap of recommendations for action.

Report Recommendations
  1. The Western Australian Government needs to develop a long-term campaign to raise awareness of the cultural norms which are hindering the progress of women. This should address intergenerational inequity through a series of demographic case studies.
  2. As part of the Red Tape Reduction Campaign, the Western Australian Government needs to investigate and remedy the relative lack of childcare places in the Perth and Peel regions as well as investigating means of reducing costs and extending hours.
  3. In order to allow for greater participation in the workforce by women, the Western Australian Government needs to facilitate a greater range of before and after school care and vacation care offerings.
  4. The Western Australian Government needs to lead an integrated initiative to increase the number of girls undertaking STEM subjects at high school in order to grow the pool of women qualified to work in the mining, energy, technology and construction sectors. Industry is required to support this initiative through programs similar to that of ‘work inspirations.’
  5. Boards need to understand and embrace the economic rationale for gender equality as a strategic competitive advantage which will provide the imperative for the need to change.
  6. The CEO needs to be made accountable for championing and driving the issue of gender equality in the workplace. The responsibility for implementing and driving the change process should not be delegated.
  7. Organisations need to undertake a pay equity audit, such as that provided by WGEA, by June 2016 and then annually thereafter. They must then report to staff on the findings.
  8. Organisations need to ensure that they have the appropriate gender metrics in place in order to understand and measure current areas of gender inequality. Once established they need to regularly engage with the rest of the organisation to determine the causes behind them and find solutions to the inequalities uncovered.
  9. Based upon the rigorous measurement and investigation of gender inequalities, adopt ‘targets with teeth’ and a suite of policies developed and implemented to deliver on them.
  10. Accountability for the delivery of targets needs to be embedded in the organisation through the use of valid and reliable KPIs attached to real consequences for success or failure.
  11. As a retention strategy, organisations should adopt mechanisms for engaging in honest conversations with employees regarding policies and expectations, surrounding the timing, benefits and shape of returning to work prior to their parental leave departure and develop means of maintaining contact during their absence.
  12. In recognition that not all staff are able to work away, organisations should rethink the reasons for travel and encourage and promote virtual connections where possible.
  13. As a flexibility initiative organisations should conduct independent job analyses, involving both the HR function and line management to determine if flexible work options are available for employees both in the workplace and remotely.
  14. As part of an organisation wide, communication strategy, the adoption of a gender equality strategy needs to be accompanied by a program of targeted training and development activities aimed at explaining the rationale for the overall strategy and the specific policies for overcoming gender inequality.
  15. Organisations should instigate sponsorship, mentoring and advocacy programs both formal and informal.
  16. As a progression strategy, organisations should link their diversity initiatives with their succession planning and extend succession plans from the CEO down to graduate level.
  17. Organisations need to ensure that they have transparent and documented pathways for progression.
  18. Organisations need to review their existing recruitment, pay, opportunity and progression systems and question assumptions around the validity of role and pay criteria. They should also adopt a policy of ‘if not, why not’ in recruitment in areas where there is not already gender parity.
  19. Organisations should create a ‘fair’ process of recruitment in which every shortlist of candidates must contain a female candidate and if this is not achievable there must be an explanation as to why.
  20. Recruitment selection panels should endeavour to always contain a female panellist and if this is not achievable there must be an explanation as to why.
  21. Organisations need to ensure an inclusive environment for women at internal and external networking functions.
  22. Large corporates and developers should consider the provision of on-site childcare where sufficient economies of scale are present as a means of providing certainty and reliability of childcare for their employees.
  23. Start with the end goal in mind.
  24. Be strategically opportunistic.
  25. Work on self-confidence.
  26. Understand effective self-promotion and networking.
  27. Be true to yourself.
  28. Acquire mentors, sponsors and role models.
  29. Plan around your family.
  30. Bring men into the conversation.
  31. Take on the obligation of bringing another woman through.