Push to ‘proactively’ hire women

by Cameron Edmond06 Nov 2013

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) has begun proposing measures to help promote women in organisations, including the regular testing of board members and the C-suite for unconscious gender bias, and the introduction of female-only hiring shortlists.

BCA has proposed a number of other interventionist measures to fast track women into top jobs and reduce the male dominance of boards, BRW reported.

The BCA itself is leading by example, and stated it is committed to having 50% of senior roles filled by women in the next decade.

Although some of the measures may seem extreme, there has been little backlash from industry experts. “It is interventionist, but it needs to be,” Peter Wilson, president of the Australian Human Resource Institute, said.

While these measures are not compulsory, the BCA does urge organisations to adopt them.

The measures include:

  • Integrating gender diversity metrics into the key performance indicators, with a link to short-term incentives and bonus payments.
  • Ensure new CEOs have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion. They should also take unconscious bias testing and be transparent about the results.
  • An equal number of men and women in the “top team”.
  • Acquire a diversity and inclusion expert to support the CEO.
  • Have targets for equal representation of women in all talent pools.
  • During restructuring and retrenchment, make efforts to retain women.
  • Accelerate women’s early development through the organisation to help fast-track their career before they have children.
  • Provide senior sponsorship to women.
  • Create shortlists of 100% women, or require at least 50%. Interview them all to improve awareness of available female talent.
  • While a woman is on parental leave, continue remuneration reviews and notional increases in pay, based on average CPI and performance related increases across their team and peers.

What do you think of these measures? Are they too extreme, or necessary to close the gap?


  • by Cecilia 6/11/2013 2:40:11 PM

    Headed in the right direction, however, if this is left to the individual companies to self-regulate very little will happen for the majority, as we have seen over the last number of decades and as has been my personal experience over the last 20 years working in a number of organisations and industry sectors. All we need to do is have a look at safety in the workplace today compared to even a decade ago. The key driver of the overall positive changes in workplace safety, whether you like it or loathe it, has been regulation. This seems to be necessary until such time as the positive change becomes ingrained in the organisation, government and other areas of society.

  • by Ian Loudon 6/11/2013 9:30:15 PM

    Discrimination for any reason is wrong and against all laws and international agreements. No reason warrents this - what happens at companies where the entire board is composed of women - impose men?

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