Most outstanding company in gender diversity 2016
AECOM boosts senior female leaders by a quarter and achieves 50:50 balance in graduate intake for first time
Recognised by Engineers Australia as Most Outstanding Company in Gender Diversity 2016
AECOM has successfully increased the percentage of female senior leaders (associate director and above) from 10% to 12.6%. Following a 12-month intensive campaign, the business is on track to achieve its commitment of having 20% female leadership by 2020.
Between May 2015 and May 2016, AECOM has reduced the gender pay gap by 3.4% across its 2,750 Australian employees and achieved a 50:50 gender split amongst this year’s undergraduate intake. In recognition of the impact the company has made in the area of gender diversity, it was presented with the Most Outstanding Company in Gender Diversity Award by Engineers Australia on 6 August.
“I’m delighted that we have managed to increase female leaders by more than a quarter (26%) in just 12 months and, in doing so, helped to close the overall gender pay gap at AECOM,” said Chief Executive Australia & New Zealand, Lara Poloni.
“Doubling our group of senior female leaders by 2020 was a real stretch target when we made it as part of our 2015 Gender Pay Strategy, especially in an industry with a small talent pool of senior women, but we are well on our way to achieving it. It is also important to highlight that this is not a numbers game; all employees’ progress according to our merit based performance and rewards system, not because they are women.”
“We have had to be bolder in the market to get more than our fair share of senior female hires. In the last year we have appointed Nicole Stoddart as managing director to lead our new Construction Services business and Kate Drews and Annette Pittman as group directors of our Buildings + Places practices in Sydney and Brisbane respectively.
“Considering the low representation of women studying STEM subjects in Australia, I’m very proud of the 2017 graduate recruitment intake of 119, where we have managed to achieve a fifty-fifty gender split for the very first time – with 100% gender pay equity.”
Last year, AECOM was one of just 90 organisations across Australia to receive a Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) citation recognising its sophisticated, holistic approach to supporting women and men’s equal participation in all levels of the workplace.
Across its Australian and New Zealand businesses, AECOM has shone a light on gender equality through a number of programs including unconscious bias awareness training, workplace flexibility and mentoring circles.
“Systems and policies are relatively easy to change when it’s being driven by an executive group that believe diversity and inclusion is a key enabler of our future success,” said HR Director Australia & New Zealand, Helen Fraser.
“However, the cultural change takes longer and can be harder to quantify. We know that we have to maintain high engagement at all levels and celebrate the right behaviours, especially amongst our people managers. We have also had to be sensitive to our female employees, who want to be valued and recognised for their capabilities, promoted on their merits and not merely as part of a gender equity strategy.”
“Many companies have gender pay equity strategies and initiatives, but not many have committed additional salary dollars to achieve them. AECOM has allocated real money to close the pay gap identifying those who are underpaid and proactively topping-up to match their male peers, Fraser continued.
According to WGEA professional, scientific and technical services had a gender pay gap of 21.8% in November 2015. Although AECOM has reduced the gap amongst junior and senior ranks, it has found the pay gap among mid-level professionals hardest to shift.
“We learnt a lot last year and will continue to refine our approach to optimise how additional salary funds are distributed,” said Fraser.
“We are also taking steps to create a workplace that is truly flexible and rewards our people for outputs not hours on a timesheet, encouraging flexible work arrangements for all employees and adapting the performance and reward framework to support.
“Although we still have a long way to go, we are confident that we are moving in the right direction and momentum is building,” said Fraser.