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Opinion by Maja Garaca Djurdjevic - March 3, 2022

Gender parity key to a stronger Australian mortgage broking industry

Three in four Aussies expect the impact of COVID-19 to benefit women’s career trajectories long-term as new ways of working become the norm.

A new survey has revealed that over 79 per cent of Australian businesses are utilising new ways of working to create a more inclusive environment to attract and retain female talent.

According to Grant Thornton International’s Women in Business Report, over half of Aussie business leaders have felt increasing pressure from external stakeholders to achieve and maintain gender balance as a result of COVID-19.

“With International Women’s Day just around the corner on March 8, it’s important to bring local and global strategies to the forefront that will assist women to increase workforce participation and fulfil more senior roles across all industries,” said Greg Keith, CEO of Grant Thornton Australia.

“These strategies can include extended paid parental leave, flexible working conditions including working from home and working from overseas, and internal mentoring programs and built-in coaching to support gender equity.”

But while businesses recognise that change is needed, the facts remain sombre.

The number of women in senior management positions in Australia continues to sit at 32 per cent in 2022, the same as in 2021. This figure has grown by only 10 percentage points in Australia over the past eight years, showing that progress is being made at a sluggish rate.

“To create more opportunities for women in senior leadership roles, business leaders need to champion the cause of gender diversity and create inclusive cultures in which a wide range of voices are listened to,” said Mr Keith.

“Leadership from the top is key to driving change as is setting clear diversity and inclusion goals against which progress can be measured,” he continued.

Globally, nearly two-thirds (57 per cent) of mid-market leaders expect the skills shortage to be a major constraint to their businesses in the year ahead. In response, as many as 95 per cent of mid-market business leaders told Grant Thornton they’re taking action to foster staff engagement and create an inclusive culture.

This article originally featured in Investor Daily