New research gives Australian businesses a ‘how-to guide’ to accelerate gender balance in senior teams

New research gives Australian businesses a ‘how-to guide’ to accelerate gender balance in senior teams
March 13, 2023 Linda Murray

It’s easy to find facts to support our position when we say there is no gender balance in senior teams here in Australia. Here are a few examples.

  • Australia is ranked 37th with regard to female representation in senior official and managerial roles, with a gender gap of 66 per cent.
  • A third of Australian boards still have no female directors.
  • Australian women hold only 15% of chair positions.
  • Women hold just 6% of CEO roles in the ASX300.
  • Australian women make up only 33% of key management personnel.

While most businesses have the best intentions, women are still underrepresented in the leadership pipeline. I suspect most have no idea how to start the change.

Luckily, new research from Chief Executive Women (CEW) and Bain & Company has identified five key accelerators to help achieve a better gender balance in senior teams. The report, “Take it from the Top: Accelerating Women’s Representation in Executive Leadership” says:

  • Committed and accountable executives— build executive commitment to and accountability for balanced leadership through regular scorecard reviews and by linking compensation to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) targets.
  • Action-oriented commitments – translate commitment to diverse leadership into actions, such as executive role modelling, equitable flexibility options, and empowering employee groups.
  • Targeted talent management – accelerate women into leadership through targeted talent management, development programs and sponsorship.
  • Deliberate and long-term succession planning – make deliberate, long-term succession plans to build a gender-balanced pipeline.
  • Equitable recruitment – create an equitable recruiting process for senior-level positions and redefine leadership requirements to broaden the talent pool.

So how do you put those accelerators into action?

  • Prove the intent is real. Involve all your leaders, not just the executive, in the drive for DEI targets and identify a performance indicator they can be measured against. Link executive compensation to improved gender representation.
  • Build talent management practices to encourage advancement regardless of gender. The report says,” Organisations that provide equal development opportunities for men and women successfully place more women into leadership positions.”
  • Encourage men to sponsor women in the workplace, not just mentor them. Advocation brings talent to attention.
  • Recruit female talent early in their careers so you can begin to fill the leadership pipeline. Because there are fewer female applicants for senior vacancies than males, speak to potential female candidates and encourage them to apply as vacancies arise.

The report contains very practical advice on how to move towards gender balance in senior teams, so I encourage you to read it.

To support you as you put these strategies into action, consider the power of incorporating executive coaching or a female leadership program. With support, guidance, and impartial feedback, I can help you and your team accomplish the specific goals you want to achieve.

Tap into your potential. Find out more about executive coaching here.


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