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Five organisations that value equal employment opportunity for women

Jaymes Carr

Deciding where to apply for a graduate job can be challenging – if equal employment opportunity for women matters to you, check out these five leading companies.

How do we know that the organisations below value equal opportunity for women? First, we asked our graduate insiders—anonymous but verified sources who have recently entered graduate programs—what life inside the organisations is really like.

Second, we reviewed the citation holders on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s 2017–2018 list of ‘Employers of Choice for Gender Equality’. The citation is awarded to companies that meet specific criteria for advancing gender equality, such as preventing sex-based harassment and discrimination, implementing targets to improve gender equality outcomes, and providing flexible working arrangements to support men and women with family or carer responsibilities. The organisations below received a high score from our graduate insiders and have also been accredited by the WGEA.

Accenture

Accenture’s 2018 report on gender equality—Getting to Equal—is transparent about demographics within the company (for example, 45% of new hires and 32% of newly promoted managing directors are women), bold in its vision (Accenture is on track to achieve a gender-balanced workforce by 2025), and full of insights applicable to all organisations that pursue gender equality. For example, in organizations with a culture of gender equality, women earn up to 51% more and are four times more likely to advance in their careers.

What is Accenture’s position on gender equality?

'Accenture believes that the future workforce is an equal one, and gender diversity is essential for an innovation-led organization. That is why we set two clear goals: to achieve a gender-balanced workforce by 2025, and to increase the diversity of our leadership by growing the percentage of women managing directors to at least 25 percent by 2020.

Today, we have approximately 170,000 women at Accenture — more than 40 percent of our global workforce. In 2017, women comprised 45 percent of new hires, 32 percent of promotions to managing director level and 21 percent of managing directors. Additionally, we publish our workforce demographics — including gender — across key geographies to measure our progress and hold ourselves accountable.'1

What do experienced Accenture employees say?

'Real social progress has always been achieved by women and men working together. You can’t have an inclusive society if you leave either out.'
Michelle Cullen, Managing Director, Accenture

'Throughout my career, empowering others to succeed has motivated me. Their success is mine.'
Khethi Nkuna, Manager, Accenture

'Some may think consulting is not for women, but women are thoughtful and put themselves in clients’ shoes.'
Doreen Deng, Client Service Lead for Resources in Greater China, Accenture Consulting

'What encourages me and gives me energy to keep working for change is the huge upsurge in activity to address gender equality.'2
Eithne Harley, Director of Marketing (Ireland), Accenture

What do our graduate insiders say?

'The company has a strong commitment to diversity and has many internal campaigns to raise awareness for different minorities. There is a strong focus on ensuring that career progression is not impacted by race, gender, sexual orientation etc.'
Graduate, Melbourne

'Very diverse backgrounds, from ethnicity to university to degrees. Accenture has committed to 50/50 gender diversity by 2025.'
Midlevel, Melbourne

'Accenture performs extremely highly regarding women in business and LGBT community - there are always forums on being more welcoming, getting involved, etc.'
Graduate, Sydney

'The company is incredibly diverse and multicultural, and I feel it has more of a 50% split between men and women than any other company I've worked for.'
Graduate, Melbourne

For more Accenture graduate insider reviews, see here.

Clayton Utz

Clayton Utz was awarded a WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation in 2017-18, in recognition of its implementation of policies designed to promote equality in remuneration, flexible working, learning and development, harassment and discrimination prevention, and organisational leadership. In 2014, Clayton Utz committed to improving the representation of women at the partnership level, setting a target of 35% female partners by 2025. In 2016, it received the Australian Workplace Equality Index Award for its efforts to promote LGBTI workplace inclusion.

What is Clayton Utz’s position on gender equality?

'Diversity at Clayton Utz includes diversity of thought, background, experience, personal circumstances, education, religion, sexuality, gender, age, cultural background and ability/disability. That diversity helps to generate new ideas, creates more effective teams and relationships, and is a key enabler to attract, develop and retain the very best people.'3

What do experienced Clayton Utz employees say?

'As lawyers, we have an important role to play in promoting diversity, equality, respect and inclusion in society.  That has to start with our own firm. We’re committed to gender equality and gender pay equity and we’re making excellent progress with the initiatives we’ve put in place to support this.  We’re taking this success and applying what we’ve learnt to drive our broader diversity and inclusion agenda, focusing on embracing inclusion as much as recognising difference to bring about more positive change within our workplace.'4
Rob Cutler, Chief Executive Partner, Clayton Utz

What do our graduate insiders say?

'Very strong on women in the lower ranks, needs more work in the partnership space - excellent programs around diversity but not entirely followed through in hiring.' 
Graduate, Sydney

'An AMAZING diversity and inclusion strategy to make everyone feel welcomed and appreciated!' 
Graduate, Melbourne

'Policies are excellent for women and LGBT.'
Graduate, Canberra

'Big focus on LGBTIQ, gender equality and flexible working arrangements - this is a large positive.'
Graduate, Brisbane

For more Clayton Utz graduate insider reviews, see here.

Lendlease

Lendlease is committed to gender equality, as well as various other measures of diversity. It has active partnerships with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (which has named it an ‘Employer of Choice for Gender Equality’ for three consecutive years), the Diversity Council Australia, the Australian Human Resource Institute (which gave it the Inclusion and Diversity Award for LGBTI Inclusion in 2014), the Australian Network on Disability, and the National Association of Women in Construction.

What is Lendlease’s policy on gender equality?

'The Lendlease Board fully supports Diversity and Inclusion, and is instrumental in driving Lendlease’s Diversity and Inclusion agenda. As part of its wider process of increasing diversity and inclusion across the Group, Lendlease is focused on:

  • realising gender equality throughout all key employee experiences, including recruitment, performance and remuneration reviews and development opportunities;
  • realising workplace flexibility for all employees across the Lendlease Group;
  • creating accessible ‘places’, both for our employees in workplace design and our customers in construction design;
  • driving an inclusion culture through communication and education campaigns;
  • providing holistic support to our employees in their role as carers.'5

What do experienced Lendlease employees say?

'At Lendlease we know that unless individuals feel able to be themselves and are comfortable in their own skin, they cannot be at their best. We believe nobody should have to hide who they are and we are proud to be one of the firms leading the way towards building equality in the construction industry.'
Neil Martin, Managing Director, Construction, Europe

'There is no excuse for men to be paid more than women for work that has the same accountability, breadth and difficulty, and for which they have comparable performance, competence and experience.'
Steve McCann, CEO and Managing Director

What do our graduate insiders say?

'There is constant promotion of the needs and benefits of diversity with respect to gender ethnic backgrounds and LGBT. The company runs multiple forums on these issues.'
Midlevel, Sydney

'There is parental leave, flexible working hours, particularly for parents, quotas and targets to hire more women and indigenous Australians in particular. There is a program in place to ensure transitioning staff feel safe and included. Internal social media Yammer has many groups such as women and LGBT.'
Graduate, Sydney

'When I first interviewed for Lendlease, I was shocked by the shortage of women in the company. However, in the last 6 months with the company I have seen a massive recruitment of female graduate engineers. My team on-site is very diverse with women, men, with people from all different backgrounds.'
Graduate, Adelaide

For more Lendlease graduate insider reviews, see here.

MinterEllison

MinterEllison maintains a strong focus on gender equality, and conducts regular internal audits to evaluate its progress towards gender equality targets. In addition to proactively responding to any signs of inequality within the company (for example, by boosting the rate of female partner promotions to 44%), MinterEllison has joined with the Australian Red Cross and the Society of Women Leaders to support initiatives that will boost gender equality in Nusa Tenggara Timur, a lesser developed region of eastern Indonesia.   

What is MinterEllison’s policy on gender equality?

'We recognise that having women in leadership is only one component of achieving gender equality. Our programs address the underlying issues impacting gender equality:

  • addressing attitudes towards working flexibly through our Empower program
  • supporting our caregivers by providing working parents programs, emergency childcare options as well as providing access to eldercare kits
  • embedding robust recruitment, promotion and remuneration processes that address the potential impact of unconscious bias.'6

What do experienced MinterEllison employees say?

'You cannot be what you cannot see. Before making the move to MinterEllison I wanted to make sure it was the firm for me – one that values gender equality and is committed to ensuring women progress in law and life.'
Cassandra Heilbronn, Senior Associate, MinterEllison

'Progressing gender equality is important because it is one way to ensure we have multiple perspectives at the table. The more viewpoints we have, the more we can understand and appreciate different ways of thinking and the better we can partner with our clients. After all, our clients are diverse and we should be reflecting that.'
Antra Hood, Partner, Minter Ellison

'Law is absolutely a people business and MinterEllison's long-held values explicitly recognise the benefits of diversity, inclusion and gender equality. We know diverse teams outperform. The blend of skills, backgrounds and perspectives reflected in our people delivers value for our clients, our people and our firm. We are committed to leveraging this advantage in everything that we do.'
Tony Harrington, CEO (2014–2018), Minter Ellison

What do our graduate insiders say?

'The firm is clearly dedicated to diversity. There are three women in my team working part time due to family commitments. In the last year more women were promoted to partnership than other firms promoted men and women to partnership. A new LGBTI community is about to be launched within the firm and there has been a huge wave of support for it.'
Graduate, Sydney

'The firm's strong culture dictates that everyone is accepted.'
Entry level, Sydney

'Very impressed with flexibility with women working part time due to family commitments.'
Graduate, Brisbane

For more MinterEllison graduate insider reviews, see here.

Westpac Group

Westpac is an industry leader when it comes to gender equality and, in 2017, achieved its goal of ensuring that 40% of General Managers were female. It currently aims to recruit women to 30% of the positions on the Westpac Group Board. Westpac has mandated that 50% of its graduate program participants be women. In 2017, it was ranked as the leading Australian bank in the 2017 Bloomberg Financial Services Gender Equality Index.

What is Westpac’s policy on gender equality?

'We were the first bank to publicly commit to achieving an aspirational target of 50% of our leadership roles to be held by women, which we achieved in 2017. We are proud to have reached gender equality in leadership roles in our 200th bicentenary year; and our 'women in leadership' target of 40% for General Managers in 2017.'7

'The Westpac Group recognises that to achieve its vision, which is to be one of the world’s great companies, it must be a global leader in relation to workplace diversity and flexibility.'8

What do business leaders at Westpac say?

'My starting point when talking about diversity is to say, 'this is a business issue.' It might be a happy coincidence that there are social justice outcomes as well, but actually you can be totally commercial about this and say that a more diverse and inclusive workforce means we can get better quality people working for us. It means we make more thoughtful and insightful decisions and therefore do better over time.'9
Brian Hartzer, Managing Director and CEO, Westpac

What do our graduate insiders say?

'Currently at the company level, something like 46% of leadership positions are filled by women, and there is a commitment of 50% by 2017. In my office alone, there is a diversity of gender, race, experience and opinion. We are aware of and continue to manage unconscious bias, with HR Managers ensuring they recruit people from diverse backgrounds, but ultimately it is a meritocracy.'
Graduate, Brisbane

'There are many opportunities for women (especially in technology). There is company-wide communication on things such as LGBTI and disabilities. There is support for child care, parents, and carers.'
Graduate, Sydney

'Westpac does really well in this area with very visible diversity support and great employee action groups.'
Entry level, Sydney

These are just five organisations that value equal employment opportunity for women. To find out more about what our graduate insiders say, check out our graduate reviews at GradAustralia.