Employers of choice for women

By Kate Southam

Less than 100 organisations made the list of Employer of Choice for Women for 2011 revealing a diverse range of organisations from universities to an oil company.

The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) received reports on diversity efforts from 2,500 organisations around Australia and 98 made the cut.

Acting EOWA Director Mairi Steele says women now represent just over 50 per cent of university graduates and a huge proportion of employee talent making diversity initiatives vital to the future of all organsiations.

A sample of award winners include:


It is the 9th year the recruitment giant firm has received Employer of Choice for Women status. Stand out achievements include:

* 62.1 per cent of all staff are female;
* 77.8 per cent of part-time employees hold a management position and 22 per cent of these hold a senior management position;
* 50 per cent of those identified as having high potential in our succession planning exercise are female;
* Over 50 per cent of people attending training at all levels in the reporting year were female;
* 59 per cent of all promotions in the reporting year were achieved by females;
* 60 per cent of senior management promotions were achieved by females (up 13 per cent from last year);
* 83 per cent of executive level promotions were achieved by female employees;
* 50 per cent of the Hays board members are female


PepsiCo was the only food and beverage organisation to be recognised by the EOWA.

CEO PepsiCo Australia & New Zealand Rodriguez Bas says gender diversity was critical to the company’s growth. He says women comprise 50 per cent of the the organisation’s talent pool and more than 50 per cent of its consumers.

PepsiCo’s initiatives include:

* Diversity with all leaders training in core inclusion skills including paid parental leave;

* A maternity leave “Stay in Touch” program to provide a supportive transition for staff coming back to work after having a baby.

* Balance discussions with all employees called ‘One Simple Thing.

* Flexible work practices including wellness days and birthday leave.

* PepsiCo’s global commitment to developing female leaders has been recognised around the world with a multitude of business and diversity awards.

* PepsiCo’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Indra Nooyi was recently named on Fortune magazine’s list of the world’s most influential women in business.

BP Australia

BP Australia introduced a five year-plan in 2009 to identify practical steps the organisation can take to achieve greater gender diversity.

Initiatives include:

Annual pay partiy analysis;
Meritocratic recruitment process;
Targets for increasing female managers and senior leaders;
Aiming for more than 50 per cent female participation in leadership and development programs;
Paid maternity leave including the ability to take half pay for eight months.

Country President, Paul Waterman, said BP’s workforce should reflect its customer base.

“It is very important women have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate what they are capable of and this citation suggests that we are making progress in creating an environment where a woman can build her career,” he says.

Swinburne University

Initiatives include:
* Offering female students and staff career workshops;
* Mentoring programs for women, industry forums and research projects.
* Running Digital Divas to encourage girls to become interested in the male-dominated field of ICT. The program is run in conjunction with other universities and secondary schools around Victoria.
* Sponsoring the Swinburne Women’s Development Program that includes specialist workshops and peer mentoring groups.
* Swinburne  claims its parental leave arrangements and flexible work conditions out perform most organisations.
By category, universities were particularly well represented with 18 organisations named along with 11 law firms, 18 financial/insurance companies and 17 health care/social assistance organisations.

Industries still struggling with gender diversity include mining & resources where only Alcoa and ExxonMobile were named; utilities with Origin Energy a solo entrant and “Information Media and Telecommunications” also a solo including only John Wiley & Sons.

NSW produced the longest list of organisations to make the list with more than 50 while Victoria had 26, Queensland 13, WA and SA with three and ACT two.  

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