News 29/01/2020 by "Lukin Ackroyd"

Gender Diversity Matters – For Morale and Making Money

Diverse-Workforce

Gender diversity, as well as cultural and racial diversity, have been discussed extensively in recent years. 2018 seemed to be the year when this conversation reached a peak, and many of us thought that change was real and upon us. 

Now as we’ve just entered into 2020, there is certainly more awareness that diversity in the workplace is important — for both internal morale and ROI –, but it seems as though we are still falling shamefully short of the mark. 

Sombre Inequality Stats in Australia

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, women make up 47 percent of all employed people in Australia. That’s almost half, so naturally, we should be balanced.

Well, we’re not. 

Off the bat, working women only make up only 37.3 percent of full-time employees, with 68.1 percent being part-time. Likely as a result of inflexibility of hours which makes full-time work less attainable for women who bare the responsibility for children. 

It gets worse. 

For women who are employed full-time, their average weekly ordinary earnings are 14 percent less than their male counterparts. 

While some attribute salary inequality to women progressing less as a result of family responsibilities, the figures show that inequality occurs long before family responsibilities may make this impact. The stats show that median undergraduate starting salaries for women are 4.8 percent less than for men, and postgraduate women get it worse, with the gap widening to 14.6 percent. 

By the end of a lifetime, this all amounts to women having an average superannuation balance that is 42 percent lower than it is for men. 

Women are underpaid and underutilised, despite all research pointing to the benefit of gender diversity in the workplace. 

Proven Benefits of Diversity

We’ve touched on this figure before: gender-diverse companies tend to outperform others by 15 percent. Add ethnic diversity to this, and that figure goes up to 25 percent. Diversity improves productivity, which, in turn, boosts revenue. 

If increased earnings aren’t enough, consider this:  

Female board members make better decisions

“Women seem to be predisposed to be more inquisitive and to see more possible solutions. This quality makes them more effective corporate directors.”

Groups that include women have a higher collective intelligence

“Research suggests that groups that include more women have higher collective intelligence.”

Of course, the motivation to be inclusive should come from a place of good morals, but if not everyone in your business feels the same, these are the figures we need to be confronting them with. 

Diversity Building 101

We’ve covered the entire process for building and retaining a diverse team before, but there are a few points we want to hone into again. Check out the link for more points on building diverse teams. 

Review Your Culture

Often there is an unconscious culture within businesses that limits diversity from the start. This could be myriad things, from a “boys club” type of environment to being inflexible about work hours — which automatically excludes those who are responsible for school drop-offs and pickups. 

Review your culture to make sure it is inclusive and makes all people, not just those who’ve been the usual faces of the past, feel comfortable. 

Promote Your Stance on Diversity

To attract a diverse workforce, you need to promote your stance on diversity. Start writing about it in your corporate communications. Get involved in groups to add your voice to the conversation around its importance. 

Companies that are open about their stance on diversity are more attractive to the right kind of employees — those of diverse backgrounds and those who support diversity. 

Be Genuinely Inclusive

To get the most out of the diversity of your workforce, encourage social gatherings, meetings, brainstorms, mentorship programs and other activities that promote the exchanging of ideas and building of bonds across all people within your business. 

To discuss how else you can encourage a diverse workforce, give us a call. We’d be happy to consult with you and share what we have learned from working with a wide range of businesses across the country.