Is your Organisation an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality?

This year, for the first time the WGEA will award employers who are leading the way in gender equality a new citation. The WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation will be granted to employers who can demonstrate they are among the best of the best when it comes to creating workplaces that equally support women and men to achieve their full potential.

The citation replaces the former Employer of Choice for Women citation that is currently held by 125 organisations across Australia.

Director of the WGEA Helen Conway said that, like its predecessor, the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation would be highly sought after by employers.

“Employers of Choice for Gender Equality will have a significant advantage in differentiating their employer brand in a competitive marketplace. This will help them to attract top talent and retain existing staff.

“In addition, research shows that gender diverse organisations and teams have higher levels of creativity and better decision making.

“The citation criteria serve as a detailed road-map for employers looking to improve their organisational performance by ensuring gender equality in their workplace,” Ms Conway said.

Organisations wishing to apply for the new citation have until 31 July to make an application and the citations will be awarded in November. Organisations must be able to demonstrate they comply with seven new criteria which were developed in consultation with leading academics in workplace gender equality along with current citation holders.

The new criteria encourage organisations to move beyond simple compliance with gender equality legislation and reporting requirements and elevate gender equality to a business imperative with sustainable and measurable outcomes:

1. Leadership, accountability and focus

This criterion assesses an organisation’s overall strategies, policies and processes to achieve gender equality. It recognises that creating a workplace culture in which women and men are equally represented, valued and rewarded requires:

  • leadership from the CEO, executive team and senior managers
  • accountability for improvement through performance measures and organisational focus on this as a business priority.

2. Learning and development

This criterion assesses an organisation’s learning and development strategies, policies and processes aimed at building capability throughout the organisation, as well as having career development and leadership programs in place for women and men.

3. Gender remuneration gap

This criterion assesses an organisation’s policies, strategies and processes to address gender remuneration equity and show progress in closing any gender remuneration gaps over time.

4. Flexible working arrangements and other initiatives aimed at supporting women and men including for those with family or caring responsibilities

This criterion assesses an organisation’s policies, strategies and processes to encourage the use of flexible working arrangements for women and men at all levels of the organisation.

This criterion recognises that access to, and utilisation of, flexible working arrangements – for both women and men – drive gender equality for individuals in combining their work and caring responsibilities.

It enables those with caring responsibilities to remain in the paid workforce and continue to have opportunities for growth, development and promotion.

5. Employee consultation

This criterion gives an indication of an organisation’s culture in relation to gender equality using feedback from workers via anonymous survey questions.

Organisations must undertake consultation with their workers, verifying that the experience of workers points to a workplace culture that actively supports and promotes gender equality. WGEA will be looking for evidence that the employee experience reflects the content of the organisation’s EOCGE application.

6. Preventing sex-based harassment and discrimination

This criterion assesses the way an organisation educates all workers (including casual and contract staff) on their rights and obligations regarding sex-based harassment and discrimination, with the aim of eliminating sex-based harassment and discrimination in the workplace and promoting an inclusive culture through education and skills-based training.

It recognises that sex-based harassment and discrimination in the workplace has significant impacts on an organisation. Notable are the reduced personal well-being and depression of those experiencing the harassment; increased absenteeism; reduced job satisfaction, organisational commitment and productivity; and increased employee turnover.

Not only do these factors lead to increased costs for individuals and organisations, they also have a significant impact on the engagement of women in work, the types of industries that are perceived to be appealing and the promotional opportunities for women.

7. Targets for improving gender equality outcomes

This criterion assesses whether an organisation has set specific, measurable, achievable and time-framed numerical targets (or initiated plans for targets to be set by 2015) where the representation of women in management and on its board/governing body is less than forty per cent. This applies where a board/governing body exists, and where the organisation has control over its appointments.

WGEA’s position on targets for women in leadership positions is based on the social context within which it operates, recognising the historically disadvantaged position of women in relation to employment and the ongoing impacts of this disadvantage. In the future, after consultation with the relevant sectors, the Agency may consider introducing targets for men in female dominated organisations.

In the meantime, employers may wish to consider implementing a target to increase the representation of men where their representation is less than 40 per cent in leadership positions.

To make an application for this year’s citation period click here.

Care Corporate has a range of products and services designed to help organisations improve their gender equality performance.  Our programs can also assist companies with the Government’s new reporting requirements under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

For more information contact us now.


This Better Workplace Bulletin was first Published in July 2014