Diversity in the workforce

GWA is committed to promoting diversity through the implementation of targeted employment policies and initiatives to achieve a diverse workforce. The Board understands the significant benefits that arise from increasing the pool of diverse employees from which the Group can draw highly talented employees and the different perspectives that can be brought to the organisation from a diverse workforce.

In 2012, the Board established a number of measurable objectives to promote and encourage increased diversity and in particular, to improve the representation of females within the workforce. The measurable objectives are assessed annually and are reported in the Corporate Governance Statement which is available on the Group’s website.

The objectives and supporting actions are:



During the year the Group conducted a detailed review of its recruitment practices leading to the implementation of a new simplified process which continues to encourage the promotion of equal opportunity and diversity.  This will be followed in FY18 with training of recruiting managers in best practice recruitment skills which includes a focus on avoiding unconscious bias.

The GWA People and Performance team continues to provide coaching and assistance for managers when recruiting to support our focus on diversity.  In FY18 a Talent Acquisition Specialist will be appointed whose role will be to attract diverse talent, embed our employee value proposition and create career paths for our employees.

The Group completed a detailed review of employment policies and practices during the year to ensure that, among other things, flexibility is offered to attract and retain female talent.  Along with this review, the Group introduced a new policy enabling victims of domestic violence to take an additional five days paid leave per year.

A number of employees continue to move to flexible working arrangements, particularly on return from parental leave.  A purchased leave plan has also been introduced which allows employees to “purchase” additional leave of up to four weeks per year via salary sacrifice.  This plan allows for greater flexibility in the workplace.  Similarly our career break and phased retirement polices were also reviewed and simplified to encourage further uptake.

During FY17 the Group strengthened and increased focus on reviewing talent and planning for succession and has commenced a program of work to further develop its senior leadership team and employees considered to be of high potential.  The Group also introduced two new initiatives to ensure high potential female employees are actively developed to further their career:

  • A Leadership Foundations Program has been implemented for females identified as having potential through our quarterly talent and succession review,
  • A structured program that involves members of the Executive Leadership Team mentoring high potential females is also underway.

As outlined in the Group’s 2017 Workplace Gender Equality Report, the overall workforce consists of 35% female and 65% male.  The Chairman increased the gender diversity of the Board through the appointment of Jane McKellar as Non-Executive Director effective from the conclusion of the 2016 Annual General Meeting.

The following table is a summary of the Group’s workplace profile at 31 March 2017:

Title % Female % Male
Board 13 87%
Key Management Personnel 0% 100%
Other Executive/General Managers 17% 83%
Senior Managers 23% 77%
Other Managers 21% 79%
Total – Management 20% 80%
Total – Non-Management 37% 63%
Overall Totals 35% 65%

In May 2017, the Group lodged its 2017 Workplace Gender Equality Report with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency in accordance with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.  The Group notified its employees and employee organisations of the lodgment of the report and advised how it may be accessed.  The Group also allowed employees and employee organisations to make comments on the report.  The report is available on the Group’s website under Gender Equality Reporting.  The Group received notification during June 2017 that it is compliant with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

While gender diversity is a priority and the Group continues to measure our progress against the gender objectives established in 2012, it is also important to promote a workplace employee profile that delivers competitive advantage through diversity of thought, experience and perspective.  To continue to be a relevant, adaptive and innovative organisation, a balance of multi-generational employees is integral to ensuring the Group remains future focused.

With 55% of the Group’s workforce aged 45 and above and the average new hire age of 40, the need to attract young talent into our organisation has become an additional priority group for the Group’s diversity agenda.

Currently representing only 16% of the Group’s workforce, the need to create multi-generational diversity by attracting talent aged 15–34 also aligns with our goal of building a fit for future culture and organisation.  The Group’s commitment to increase workforce diversity by age is a focus for FY18 with specific initiatives such as graduate programs developed to increase the number of employees in this age group.

In line with the Group’s progressive approach to embedding diversity in the organisation, the Diversity Policy has been refreshed and renamed Diversity and Inclusion Policy which is available on the Group’s website.  The Group has also revised its Diversity and Inclusion Statement which describes GWA’s commitment to engage in activities that enhance Diversity and Inclusion, which in turn attracts talent.