Time to rise: The positive impact of diversity in the workplace

| March 21, 2017

Women are kicking goals everywhere but remain underrepresented in leadership roles. What can we do to improve gender equality in the workforce? Aniya Roslan from The 100% Project explains.

It’s a stat that I’ve seen a little more of lately: In 2015, there were more men named Peter leading ASX200 companies than there were women in those positions.

An unpublished analysis by workforce diversity specialist Conrad Liveris revealed the shocking and unfortunate truth of the leadership landscape in the modern age.

Oracle’s HR trends for 2017 report identified transparency into workforce diversity as a key area for the coming area. HR leaders may have been paying attention to these metrics for years, but as more research surfaces on the business case for a more diverse workforce, it might be time for the rest of the corporate world to pay attention. For example, McKinsey Global Institute found economic opportunities to be in the trillions with greater gender equality, and a number of studies speak to the organisational impact of a broader workforce.

After all, most companies are smart enough to know you need some representation to truly understand and deliver to your customer base.

The value in diversity is not surprising

How could this possibly be a bad thing when women have gone above and beyond to prove our capabilities? More women are graduating with tertiary qualifications than men. Part-time workers, made up of more working mothers than men, have proven to be the most productive in the workforce.

At the broader end of the funnel, women are kicking goals. This is further demonstrated in the overall numbers, where there is a lot less of a disparity in the younger workforce. Women represent a good chunk of the working population, and unsurprisingly, begin to filter out as we get older.

This is not old news – the numbers tell us that women take up most household responsibilities and family related obligations that extend far beyond maternity leave. It’s more likely to mean that we need part-time or flexible working options to be able to manage both personal and professional lives. Combine these needs with the stigma behind flexible policies, and it’s no wonder why the demographic becomes more ‘uniform’ the higher up the ranks we go.

What can we do to keep equality going?

These types of observations are exactly what spurred the founding of The 100% Project – a group focused on achieving gender equality at work. The 100% Project combines research, events and consultations to explore (and help implement) workplace practices that improve representation at work.

Bringing a unique touch to the space, The 100% Project also explores practices that assist men in achieving a more positive working experience through the Men@Work series. Studies in this series have dissected the barriers that prevent men from participating in flexible working policies, and positioned its adoption in ways that are easily digestible by businesses.

Address the barriers that prevent both women and men from participating fully at work.

The 100% Project recognises that equality at work is a team effort, and are always looking for new recruits to champion the cause. Find out more at http://the100percentproject.com.au/.

Aniya Roslan
Aniya Roslan is a marketer who focuses on workplace improvements from a human resources perspective. After completing a study to drive company-wide adoption of diversity practices, Aniya joined The 100% Project, a not-for-profit organisation that improves access to opportunities in the workplace. She is also the Marketing Manager of Melbourne-based technology company HROnboard, helping companies to improve employee engagement through best-in-class onboarding practices.

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