Women lead the boardrooms around Australia for the first time
There has been plenty of media attention around the gender pay gap and disparity between men and women in management positions in Australia recently. But the tides of change are rolling in fast, with more women appointed to Australia's top 200 companies than men in the first quarter of 2018. In that time, 56 board appointments were made with 52 per cent filled by women, Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) data has shown. AICD chair Elizabeth Proust was pleased by the turnaround, saying the talent had always been there. "When it comes to increasing gender diversity on Australia's largest boards, we know that it's never been a supply problem, it's been a demand problem," she said. "What today's figures hopefully show is that, finally, we are seeing the demand."
There is still plenty of work to be done While these AICD figures are encouraging, the gap between employment opportunities for men and women is still wide. Statistics released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) show that the gender pay gap sits at 15.3 per cent, with men earning an average of $1662.70 compared to $1409 by women. This is an improvement on 2014, when the gap was 18.5 per cent - but still sits higher than the 14.9 per cent gap from 2004. WGEA data also shows that over 29 per cent of organisations that report to them have zero women in management positions. In Australia, just 13.7 per cent of chair positions are held by women, 16.5 per cent of CEOs are women and only 29.7 per cent of key management positions are held by females.
Need incentive? Women in management are good for business In a perfect world, no business would need to be told talent is not exclusive to gender. The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has released a report showing that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality and putting more women in management positions. And this same research has shown that gender diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to financially out-perform their peers. This has been especially prominent in the UK, where every 10 percent increase in gender diversity in business resulted in a 10 per cent increase in earnings before interest and taxes. The research is there, so to paraphrase Beyonce: If you want to run the world, you need girls.