Not everyone is excited by gender diversity at work. Picture: iStock
Not everyone is excited by gender diversity at work. Picture: iStock

When gender equality is a put off

ADDRESSING gender issues in the workplace generally makes an employer more attractive to workers but some workers are unmoved - or even put off - by diversity initiatives.

More than one in 10 men (14 per cent) surveyed by SEEK said they were less likely to apply for a role at a company with women in leadership positions.

Just 37 per cent said decreasing the pay gap between genders was an appealing initiative, compared to 63 per cent of women.

Despite the negative minority, however, most young workers supported gender equality initiatives.

Research from MYOB found three in five Generation Z workers (58 per cent) believed it was important to have strong female mentors in the workplace.

Women also appreciated workplace diversity, with SEEK revealing one in five women (22 per cent) actively searched for companies with gender-inclusive policies.

SEEK group HR director Kathleen McCudden said more organisations were starting to recognise the importance of initiatives to encourage a diverse workforce.

"We've really started to see the needle shift but there is still a long way to go," Ms McCudden said.

MYOB general manager for marketing and direct sales Natalie Feehan said the up-and-coming workforce expected to see more women in senior roles.

The company's survey found 53 per cent of Generation Z respondents believed having visible women in senior or executive roles was the most effective way to build diversity in an organisation.

"The attitude and expectations of Gen Z in the workplace will be the driving force in turning around inequality," Ms Feehan said.

"They have grown up in more diverse environments at school, at home and in sports. They fundamentally understand the benefits of diversity, and that diversity of thinking can lead to better outcomes.

Kathleen McCudden, SEEK’s HR director, says the situation is improving. Picture: Supplied
Kathleen McCudden, SEEK’s HR director, says the situation is improving. Picture: Supplied

"It is encouraging, and not surprising, to see that younger generations expect to see more women in senior roles and want access to more strong female mentors."

MYOB development manager Shannon Tresider was a mentor in the company's DevelopHer program, a fully-paid internship for women seeking a career in software development.

She said her own experience returning to work after the birth of her daughter encouraged her to help others through mentoring.

"Knowing what I know now makes me want to help women in similar situations get back into the workforce, change career or achieve whatever they personally want to achieve," she said.

Business analyst Tara Whitehead changed career path within MYOB after mentoring from Ms Tresider.

She said the professional relationship had made a "huge difference" for both her career and personal development.

Tara Whitehead and her mentor Shannon Tresider, at MYOB. Picture: Supplied
Tara Whitehead and her mentor Shannon Tresider, at MYOB. Picture: Supplied

"My mentor is a sounding board when I need career advice - whether that's negotiating salary, navigating complex decisions and situations or making my personal life fit with my professional life," she said.

"Shannon was pivotal when I made the massive career leap from marketing to cyber security. "She always has my back, and I know it is a relationship that will continue to grow."



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