Inside Tabcorp’s gender diversity program

HRD talks to Merryl Dooley, chief people officer at Tabcorp, about the company’s successful D&I initiatives

Inside Tabcorp’s gender diversity program

Tabcorp has recently been named an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Federal Government's Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

Merryl Dooley, chief people officer at Tabcorp, told HRD that from the outside the company can look male-dominated given the products and services that are offered.

“But back in 2012/2013 we saw a real opportunity to drive a different culture by shining a light on gender diversity and changing representation,” said Dooley.

“I think that at the moment there is a very strong visible commitment by large organisations to improving gender balance.”

Dooley added that companies need to deploy organistion-wide strategies and initiatives to improve gender balance, but fundamentally it comes down to managers.

“I have been fortunate to have a number of people in my career that have really helped mentor me and we know that for women in organisations that is a critical success factor,” said Dooley.

Indeed, Dooley argues it’s particularly important for senior female mentors to encourage women to take on non-traditional roles in male-dominated fields.

“We have also found that it is actually as powerful to have a man mentor a woman, as it is for a woman to mentor a woman,” said Dooley.

“I think having men talking more about diversity and inclusion can actually get more traction in male-dominated organisations.”

Dooley added that there is no silver bullet to improving female representation in businesses such as Tabcorp.

“It needs to be a very holistic approach. You have to have a CEO who is very committed because if the CEO is not supportive it’s very difficult to get any traction,” added Dooley.

“Our CEO David Attenborough is a very visible leader of the diversity and inclusion effort of Tabcorp.

“For us it has really been about a range of initiatives, including long-term sourcing of women into key operational roles, mentoring programs, leading practice policies around flexible working and parental leave arrangements that benefit both men and women.”

Tabcorp's key diversity achievements include:

  • In the 2017 WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality application females represented 39 per cent of Tabcorp’s senior leader roles
  • Strong commitment to equal pay with a gender pay gap for like-for-like roles of only 1.2% (compared to an average of approximately 23.1% for other major Australian companies)
  • Tabcorp is the only employer in the gambling industry to receive the 2017 Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation from the WGEA and has held this citation for the last three years
  • Parental leave entitlements include payment of superannuation on all paid parental leave, 13 weeks paid leave for primary carergivers and a market-leading six weeks paid leave for secondary caregivers
  • Tabcorp established a Women’s Mentoring Program in 2012 and last year extended it to support its racing industry partners. Over 150 women have participated in the program
  • Several Tabcorp senior women have participated in the Chief Executive Women’s Leadership Program
  • Launched Grace Papers – an award-winning platform that provides practical advice for working parents.

Related stories:
ANZ adopts gender-neutral dress code
Gender bias worse than many women expect
Do diverse teams perform better?

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