A recent survey shows New Zealand is leading when it comes to equal pay, flexible working options and career advancement for women.
The Trans-Tasman rivalry pits Kiwis against Aussies on almost every front and if one recent survey is to be believed, it seems New Zealand is the clear winner when it comes to workplace equality – but is it really something to be proud of?
Conducted by recruitment firm Hays, the survey found that women working in New Zealand are 11 per cent more likely to have received a promotion in the last 12 months compared to their Australian counterparts.
Similarly, Kiwi women are 14 per cent more likely to have the opportunity in their current role to promote themselves or their ambitions and are 12 per cent more likely to think equal career opportunities are open to them.
However, the study also uncovered some less positive statistics which prove New Zealand still has some way to go before achieving true workplace equality.
For example, 84 per cent of Kiwi respondents said the most senior person in their organisation was male, compared to 80 per cent in Australia, and 65 per cent said their line manager was male, also higher than Australia’s 61 per cent.
As for how HR professionals can make further gender diversity progress, the survey suggests offering equal parental leave and flexible working options to both men and women – as well as creating a culture of acceptance without career repercussions.
Currently, just 22 per cent of those surveyed said their organisation offers parental leave for male employees on equal terms to female employees and even then, 30 per cent rarely take it and 37 per cent only take some.
The reasons, according to respondents, vary from men being viewed as less committed to their career (53 per cent), to childcare being the responsibility of the mother (33 per cent) and financial impact (14 per cent).
“To help make real and lasting gender equality progress, I believe we need to start talking in terms of ‘family-friendly’ rather than ‘women-friendly’ policies and offer and accept the decision of men to work flexibly and take paternity leave,” says Jason Walker, managing director of Hays New Zealand.
“While we’re ahead of the Aussies in this regard, we still have a long way to go before real gender equality is achieved in New Zealand’s workplaces.”
Other findings of the survey include:
- Flexible working is seen as more of a career-limiting move for women (49 per cent) than for men (37 per cent)
- 92 per cent of women and 61 per cent of men think women encounter barriers in their career progression
- 24 per cent of women said they were dissatisfied with their current seniority level, compared to just 7 per cent of men.
- 66 per cent of men and 26 per cent of women think they are paid/rewarded in an equal manner regardless of gender (higher than Australia’s 58 per cent and 19 per cent)
- 98 per cent of female respondents thought it was important that agile and flexible working options are available to them in their organisation compared to 80 per cent of men
- 22 per cent of organisations in New Zealand offer parental leave for male employees on equal terms to female employees
- 84 per cent of respondents said greater gender diversity in the workplace would improve an organisation’s success, with more women (96 per cent) than men (70 per cent) believing this