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We live in your world - September 2011

We live in your world - September 2011

Innovating our approach to gender

Innovating our approach to gender

We are supporting new initiatives to increase the representation of women in management and ensure a work environment that values and benefits from the perspectives and contributions of all employees.

Women currently make up around 56% of our total workforce and 38% of all management positions. Three women are part of our Management Board, where in 2007 there was none, and 54% of our 2011 graduate intake is female.

This progress follows a CEO-led commitment to setting and pursuing public targets for women in management; mentoring and awareness programs; and a range of flexible work policies to support employees with caring responsibilities. However, gains towards our goal of 40% female representation in management are now largely incremental.

Building capability

To bring new momentum to our agenda, we have conducted a series of education sessions led by Avivah Wittenberg Cox, a global expert in gender, leadership and business.

More than 500 managers, including 200 of our most senior executives, participated in the program designed to enhance leadership capabilities in understanding, building and benefiting from gender-balanced and diverse teams.

Avivah’s approach draws on the strengths of both men and women to ensure we are optimising the male and female halves of our talent pool:

“Women are very different to men and we shouldn’t treat them the same. In some ways, political correctness has been the biggest obstacle for women - and companies - and the biggest opportunity comes with learning what the differences are and managing men and women bilingually. Men and women have different motivations.”

As part of her engagement with us, Avivah conducted briefings with our clients, members of Chief Executive Women; the Equal Employment Opportunity Trust in New Zealand; the Melbourne Business School Gender Equity Research project; and Women in Banking and Finance. In addition, Avivah delivered a keynote address at the Sustaining Women in Business 10th anniversary conference of which ANZ is a foundation sponsor.

Male Champions for Change

Our CEO Mike Smith also recently joined the ‘Male Champions of Change’ (MCC) program, established by the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick.  

Through the MCC, leading Australian CEO’s and Directors are using their influence to ensure the issues of gender equality and women’s representation in leadership are elevated onto the national business agenda.

“Although we have made good progress towards gender equality at ANZ, this is a much broader economic, business and community imperative,” said Mike.

“The majority of university graduates in almost every field are now women so if companies are predominantly hiring and promoting men they are not fully capitalising on all the available talent.

“Women are also earning more, have more purchasing and influencing power, and bring new dimensions to the way we innovate, build relationships, make decisions and manage our business.

“Pretty soon it will be ‘if not, why not?’ for companies and countries that do not understand or adapt their policies and infrastructure – such as accessible, affordable and flexible childcare - to support and capitalise on this largely untapped resource.

“We also know from the work we do to build financial capability among women from disadvantaged backgrounds that greater economic empowerment leads to greater financial and social inclusion, asset building and significant improvements in their self-confidence and sense of self-worth. This is good for society and good for business,” he said.

Mike will work with Commissioner Broderick to establish a Melbourne chapter of the MCC, while also encouraging members of his team to become ANZ Male Champions for Change.

These new efforts support existing initiatives to promote gender equality across our business, through our recruitment policies, flexible work practices, parental leave entitlements, affinity networks and mentoring programs, commitment to gender pay equity and Group-wide Diversity Council which is chaired by our CEO.

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