At least six technology companies have been recognised as employers of choice for gender equality by the federal Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).
In total, 106 organisations received the citation in 2016, up from 90 in 2015 and 76 the year prior. The increase came despite “more rigorous criteria” being adopted this year.
The six technology firms on the list are Telstra, VMware Australia, Carsales.com, GE Australia, SAP Australia and ThoughtWorks Australia. A full list can be found here.
All barring GE Australia were similarly recipients of the citation last year.
“Employers increasingly recognise that equal participation by women and men at all levels of an organisation is good for workplace culture and performance,” WGEA director Libby Lyons said.
“WGEA data shows there is progress towards gender equality in Australian workplaces, but it is too slow.
“It is only through more employers taking the initiative to promote gender equality in the workplace that we will see the pace of change pick up.
"That is why it is so encouraging to see more than 100 organisations meet the very high standard required to receive the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation this year.”
Lyons noted it was encouraging to see citations awarded across a diverse range of industries.
“Each industry has its own gender equality challenges,” she said.
“We hope all citation holders can drive change in their own organisations as well as playing a leadership role to promote gender equality across their industries.”
Carsales.com’s chief operating officer Cameron McIntyre said the business had firmly “embraced the diversity challenge”.
“I am proud that we have a self-fulfilling culture that says this is the expectation, so let’s keep challenging ourselves at being a better and more diverse company,” McIntyre said.
“We have rewritten our policies and made our parental leave more compelling; we are working towards being a White Ribbon workplace; and we have increased flexibility for staff.
“Our unconscious bias training has been very valuable and an important tool in educating the business on matters of diversity.
“Overall we are seeing better inclusion in the workplace and I think we are all working together better than we were 12 months ago.”
ThoughtWorks Asia Pacific group managing director Ange Ferguson said that “diversity, equity and inclusion” were part of the company’s DNA.
“We are passionate about addressing gender imbalance in the tech industry and have taken deliberate steps to align the issue with our business mission,” Ferguson said.
“We invest in providing a workplace where ‘ThoughtWorkers’ feel supported no matter their individual circumstances and strive to be a catalyst for positive change in the way women are viewed and treated.
“Our initiatives range from a focus on gender equality in recruitment to detailed gender remuneration analysis, internal policies and communities, and women in Leadership Development Programs.”
Ferguson said the company conducted a “detailed bi-annual gender remuneration analysis” to help identify differences in salary by grade, role and gender.
It has also created a Parents’ Community and a Womens’ Network, which Ferguson said is used to identify “areas for improvement and greater equality within the business.”