Calls for senior executive salary to be linked to gender diversity targets

UN Women Australia is calling on listed companies to tie remuneration for senior executives to key performance indicators that measure performance against gender diversity targets.

Launching the Communiqué of the Gender Equity in the Workplace Summit 2012, with co-host the Australian Human Resources Institute, UN Women Australia Executive Director, Julie McKay, said more needed to be done to encourage senior levels of management to support women in the workplace.

The Gender Equity in the Workplace Summit 2012 entitled Re-imagining our Workplaces was held earlier this year and brought together a select group of thought leaders across various industries to share and discuss best practice and develop recommendations for the broader business community on the following themes: Flexibility, Leadership, Supply Chain, Resilience and Mentoring.

“There is no doubt that more can and should be done to support women in the workplace at all levels,” Ms McKay said.

“We know that women represent more than 50 per cent of graduates entering the workforce, but as time progresses the pay gap and opportunities for promotion are significantly reduced.

“The fact is, until gender diversity, or the lack of it, starts to affect the bottom line or an individual’s hip pocket, there is very little incentive to make change.

“By tying executive remuneration to gender diversity targets it starts to call out the unconscious bias that exists in many teams and challenges executive leadership to institute policies, programs and practices that build confidence for women seeking promotion and provide a flexible work environment.”

The call also follows findings from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s 2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership. It found women are under-represented in the pipeline to senior leadership, especially in crucial line management roles. In the ASX 500 men hold 2,148 line positions while women hold 141 line positions.

Some of the other key recommendations to come out of the Summit include:
• Government to provide tax incentives to employers supporting women to come back from parental leave through payroll tax reductions or similar means.
• Organisations to integrate gender diversity requirements into their tendering process and communicate this publically in their annual report, on their website and in other public materials.
• Organisations to challenge their own approach and the approach of companies in their supply chain as to how they portray women, especially in advertising.

The Gender Equity in the Workplace Summit 2012 is proudly sponsored by our Principal Partner, Westpac Group.