Leadership | Diversity | Inclusion

Workplace gender diversity: How, not why

The business case for greater workforce and leadership diversity has been demonstrated, now is the time to look at how we best achieve it, ANZ, Chief Executive Officer, Australia, Philip Chronican has told a CEDA audience in Adelaide.

"I think the issue or the debate as such is about how this is best achieved in order to affect real change," Mr Chronican said.

Speaking at CEDA's Male chiefs for gender equity forum, Mr Chronican said: "It's important that men take seriously the issue about building diverse leadership groups.

"The reality of corporate life today is that on the whole men still dominate those leadership positions and are the key influencers in decision making in most organisations.

"We need to engage with this issue and take ownership and responsibility for addressing imbalances wherever they occur.

"We're only going to achieve real outcomes if we all work together, men and women."

Mr Chronican said ANZ are not leaving workforce gender diversity to chance.

"We really think about it being embedded in our core leadership practices, integrating it into everyday activity (and) introducing the right mindset among all of our leaders," he said.

Workforce gender diversity is not just about fairness and equality, it's about how we access our customer base, our talent pool and how we drive productivity and economic opportunity, he said.

Mr Chronican said ANZ is focusing on workforce gender diversity in their programs, processes and policies including staff recruitment, staff development and flexible work practices.

At the end of September 2013, women held around 54 per cent of all roles across ANZ and the representation of women in management remained steady at around 39 per cent, he said.

Although ANZ in Australia has a slightly better ratio of 42 per cent of women in management, Mr Chronican said he was concerned about the talent pipeline and ensuring there are opportunities for women to progress.

"The issue that most concerns me is turning that into a proper pipeline by ensuring that the women at that level (middle management) are able to get opportunities to go into the most senior roles," he said.

As well as internal programs and policies to ensure women are represented and progressed within the organisation, ANZ now requires external recruiters to have at least one woman on every short list for every role in the company, he said.

"We do expect these providers to provide us with candidates from across the spectrum," he said.

This forum included a panel discussion with the following speakers:

Parsons Brinckerhoff, Regional Director, Dr David Cruickshanks-Boyd

Deloitte, Managing Partner SA, Rob DiMonte

Elders, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Malcolm Jackman

ASC, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Ludlam

Finlaysons, Managing Partner, David Martin

Business SA, Chief Executive, Nigel McBride

Santos, General Counsel, Christian Paech