[White Paper] Women in Leadership Round Table - What is next

Jonty Plewes
April 12, 20173 mins read

Our latest Women in Leadership round table, comprising of Heads of Talent, HR and Diversity from Australia’s leading businesses, took place recently and asked; what new strategies are being implemented to help organisations move the dial on gender balance in the workplace?

Although the statistics haven’t changed much, our round table did bring forth encouraging news. It is clear that in 2017 gender diversity is becoming more of a strategic issue for many forward thinking companies in the ASX. Senior leadership teams are looking at measurable targets for gender diversity and how reaching these goals can be rewarded (with equality – yay!)

Some highlights of the round table can be found below.


We discussed the ideas of gender blind resumes or screening processes and many of our members were in alignment when they said these techniques hadn’t worked for them. Based upon language used, or layouts of resumes, they could almost always correctly guess if the candidate was male or female. Through this discovery though, strategies have been put in place around resume writing courses to encourage more equality.

On the other end of the recruitment process, more focus is being paid to the layout and words used in recruitment adverts to ensure they are not discouraging women, who, it reveals, are often put off by the use of bullet points in an advert. Research suggests this is because women tend to want to ‘tick all the boxes’ if this layout is used.

Bottom-up Approaches;

The idea of bringing diversity councils or representatives at business unit level has been discussed and developed as a means of tracking success and monitoring diversity statistics from the lower levels up. This increases employee engagement, allows those who feels passionate about the topic to be involved, and also creates the opportunity for more ideas and information to be passed around the company, ensuring it involves peers at all levels.

Career Management & Setting Up Success;

Women in positions where they are offered informal sponsorship programmes or the opportunity for mentorship are flourishing. More flexibility around cross-industry or cross-discipline movement is allowing them to engage with leadership possibilities in new ways. In addition, real progress can be seen when women are supported once in their roles, so ensuring middle management and higher promotions are carefully constructed is also key.

Developing Male Champions;

There was also a unanimous need for more male advocacy. In some instances where women in senior roles had failed, there were sadly the cases of male colleagues or senior representatives harbouring ill feeling or resentment. This highlights the need for male engagement to encourage equality from both sides, not just a constant push from women. This can also help address unconscious bias, and not being afraid to call it out. Our round table participants discussed various issues that have had regarding unconscious bias and how they’re encouraging not just their women, but entire teams, to call it out and take ownership.

And so you can see, there is a lot of opportunity and many strategies in place for the push towards equal representation at all levels. It has a long way to go and will need everyone to get involved but Morgan McKinley and these round tables are dedicated to helping that change. To dive into more detail, download and read the white paper below.

Please check out our first round table white paper here which was held earlier in the year.

The next round table will take the form of an Innovation lab, designed to take thinking and action to the next level.

Jonty Plewes's picture
Associate Director | Transformation & Technology


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