08 Dec 2016

Gender equality at work? Here are four things to lift the bar

Written by Sarah White, Executive General Manager, Talent & Leadership at NAB

It’s great to see that today a record number of organisations earned the Workplace Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation.

From my time working in senior HR leadership roles, these are four things that I believe matter most in the recipe for gender equality in the workplace.

Leadership: Inclusion begins and ends with our leaders. At NAB, our CEO Andrew Thorburn is a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador and a Male Champion of Change. Our Executive Leadership Team also expects all NAB leaders to demonstrate inclusive leadership, where everyone can be themselves at work.

Integration: Gender equality can’t be an afterthought or an add on; it must be integrated across all processes, policies and programs to ensure all bias is removed. For example, we strive to have a mix of men and women shortlisted for all management roles, and that we have males and females involved in the hiring decisions. When it comes to supporting our people with babies, we have a policy that ensures eligible primary carers can access up to three months’ paid parental leave in the first year of their child’s life, regardless of whether they are a mum or a dad.

Flexibility: We won’t achieve gender equality if we don’t make flexibility a reality for all people – both men and women. At NAB, more than 85% of our people work flexibly, including 84% of our women and 88% of our men.

Targets: Setting ambitious gender targets and then publicly reporting on progress helps to focus people’s minds on where we are, where we want to go, and what we need to do to get there. I’m pleased that as of September 30 this year at NAB, 38% of Executive Management positions were held by women, meaning we beat our target by 4 per cent. (Executive Management positions are all positions from CEO level, to executive leadership team and the next two levels down).

The acronym for these four key ingredients in the gender equality recipe is “LIFT”, and that’s fitting. Australia still has a long way to go before we truly treat both males and females equally.

At NAB, we’re committed to ensuring that both women and men can have successful careers with us. That makes sense for our customers, shareholders and people. When our people reflect our community, they can better understand customer needs. Diversity and inclusion also helps us attract and retain great employees.

I’m proud to work for a bank that has earned the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation for the 9th year.

With leadership, integration, flexibility and targets, we can all make more progress. It’ll be a win for women, and for men.

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