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Why gender equality is good for business

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Is the way you think about gender hurting your business' innovation? According to a study from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), improving balance across all industries will help our economy in the years to come.

How does your workplace approach gender equality? According to a study from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), improving balance across all industries will help our economy in the years to come.

"It's time to reject the idea that certain types of work are better suited to women or men," said Libby Lyons, WGEA Director in an August 16 announcement. “A person's gender is not an indicator of their ability in a particular area."

If you want to see changes in your workplace, there are some very strong arguments you can make, according to the WGEA.

The WGEA says a workforce that promotes gender equality can:

  • Enhance organisational performance – there is a strong link between diversity and improved decision-making and performance
  • Improve insight on target markets –women  control 72% of household spending, and their buying power is growing in line with their expanding role in the workforce
  • Attract the best employees – because women are increasingly more highly educated than men (20% more women aged 25-34 than men hold bachelors’ degrees)   
  • Reduce the cost of staff turnover – because both men and women are likely to leave organisations that lack flexibility and fair pay, and staff turnover is expensive
  • Enhance reputation – because promoting gender equality will enhance the regard in which a company is held in the wider community
  • Minimise legal risks – because strategies that promote workplace gender equality reduce sex discrimination and harassment

What we’re doing to address gender equality in our own sector

The concept of ‘women’s work’ and ‘men’s work’ is still apparent in the financial services sector and we’re working hard to change this.

Although the WGEA found in 2015 that 51.1 per cent of employees in financial services were women, placing it fifth in the country for prevalence of women, this industry has conversely seen the steepest decline in female participants - down 7.1 per cent since 1995.

The industry’s real challenge is the gender split in more skilled roles. While women make up 74.3 per cent of clerical and administrative workers, only 37.1 per cent of managers are women. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers research, in financial services globally women hold only 19 per cent of senior level jobs, 14 per cent of board seats and a mere 2 per cent of CEO roles. In Australia, the imbalance can be even greater.

This plays into age-old stereotypes of women working in support roles while men assume leadership positions - something every industry in Australia needs to work on. Yet, PwC notes that 43 per cent of CEOs in financial services don't have a program for boosting diversity.

At Yellow Brick Road, we’re doing our part to engage women in financial careers. We launched our Women in Finance group in 2016 to promote the financial services industry among women and empower them to consider financial services as a career. The group’s regular events programme enables like-minded women to come together and share their inspirational stories and ideas, helping to future-proof their career in what is a competitive industry.

Get in touch to find out what we can do for you.