Women power in the office

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) is designing measures to promote women into senior executive jobs and ultimately, aim to reduce male dominance in boards. The BCA has suggested that a preconceived set of gender inequality has produced a “male-gendered concept of merit-based assessment’’ in many companies.

The members of the business council, which represents 120 of Australia’s biggest companies, have committed to having 50% of their senior roles filled by women in the next decade, according to a report by the Australian Financial Review. Checklists have been released on Tuesday to aid companies in achieving this target.

Some of the factors include: promoting women earlier in their careers; expanding existing executive teams to include women; filling vacancies with interim appointments until a ­suitably qualified woman is found and proactively hiring women.

While a number of the proposals may be a struggle for smaller businesses, some of the biggest companies are already aggressively trying to meet diversity targets by specifically targeting women to fill vacancies. In these cases, recruiters said that there is an unspoken agreement that a hiring ­manager cannot recruit a new person unless they are female.

The business council’s deputy chief executive, Maria Tarrant, said member companies that miss the 50% female target by 2023 would be given further resources, rather than penalised. “We are not dictating here,” she said. “People are going to need to be trained.”

However, the decision to implement such measures will ultimately be in the hands of the individual companies.

8th November 2013