The members of the Business Council have committed to having 50 per cent of their senior roles filled by women within the next decade.
The Business Council of Australia is pushing radical measures to promote women into senior executive jobs, including regular testing of chief executives and board members for unconscious gender bias and female-only hiring short lists, The Australian Financial Review reports.
Suggesting that a range of inherent biases have produced a “male-gendered concept of merit-based assessment” in many companies, the business lobby group proposes a suite of interventionist measures designed to fast track women into top jobs and ultimately reduce the male dominance of boards.
The members of the business council, which represents 120 of Australia’s biggest companies, have committed to having 50 per cent of their senior roles filled by women in the next decade.
The group will release checklists on Tuesday to help companies achieve the target.
They include: promoting women earlier in their careers; expanding existing executive teams so that women can be quickly included; filling vacancies with interim appointments until a suitably qualified woman is found; proactively hiring women.
CEOs who are tested for their own unconscious biases are encouraged to share their results. Boards are advised to hire leaders who can demonstrate a good record in advancing women.
Senior leaders should have their bonuses riding on their performance in achieving gender diversity.
The business council’s deputy chief executive, Maria Tarrant, said positive discrimination does not mean that people will be promoted into jobs before they are ready.”You want to see women with appropriate competencies on the list,” she said.
While a number of the proposals may be confronting for some businesses, recruiters report some of the biggest companies are already aggressively trying to meet diversity targets by only targeting women to fill vacant spots. In these cases, there is an informal understanding that a hiring manager cannot recruit a new person unless they are female, recruiters said.
Source: Fiona Smith, The Age Business Day