GENDER DIVERSITY IN THE ABS
The representation of women in the Australian Public Service (APS) has been gradually increasing at all levels in recent decades. The ABS, while starting at a lower point than the APS average, has broadly kept pace with upward trends for the total proportion of women and those in Executive Level (EL) positions. However, there has been a decline in the proportion of women at the Senior Executive Service (SES) level in the ABS in recent years.
As at 30 June 2013, the proportion of women in the ABS was 51.5% compared with 57.9% in the APS overall. The proportion of women in the SES at the ABS was 27.7%, which was behind the APS average (39.5%).
In response, the ABS Executive Leadership Group commissioned a study in 2012 to examine barriers and opportunities for the promotion of women (and men) into senior positions. The Strategies Towards Gender-Balanced Leadership paper, which included 47 recommendations, was presented and endorsed at the 2014 May Management Meeting. Subsequently, the Gender Diversity Working Group was established to guide the development and implementation of these recommendations.
The majority of the 47 recommendations will be implemented through this Plan, with some recommendations to be progressed via the People Plan, the Organisational Capability Plan or other corporate actions already in train. These are listed in Appendix 1. An additional six recommendations have been deferred until after initial implementation of this Plan, and will be reviewed for relevance at a later time.
OUTCOMES AND STRATEGIES
In aiming for gender diversity at all levels throughout the ABS, a specific target has not been set for women in leadership roles. Instead, the ABS has committed to identifying and removing barriers to allow women the same access to and participation in leadership roles as their male colleagues.
The Gender Diversity Action Plan overarching strategies for 2014-17 are:
Strategy 1: Recruiting and deploying for diverse leadership (to ensure that our SES selection processes are best practice and free from unintended bias)
Strategy 2: Working flexibly (to support increased use of flexible job design arrangements for senior staff, both in terms of locations and working arrangements)
Strategy 3: Staying connected (to ease the transition of staff entering into or returning from long periods of leave, and capitalise on the talent and expertise of former ABS staff)
Strategy 4: Building a more inclusive corporate culture (to promote a working environment where diverse leadership styles can flourish)
GOVERNANCE AND REVIEW
The ABS GDAP 2014-17 is part of the ABS diversity program. The GDAP was developed in consultation with the Gender Diversity Working Group (GDWG) and the Directors accountable for the deliverables and measures in the Plan.
Progress on the deliverables of the GDAP will be reported on annually and reviewed regularly to ensure actions remain relevant over the life of the Plan.
Further information on governance and review arrangements can be located in Appendix 2.