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Take it From the Top: Top five ways businesses can accelerate the number of women in senior leadership teams

Having the desire to create more gender diversity in senior leadership ranks within your company is one thing, but putting practical measures in place to achieve this is something completely different. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to start.

After speaking to 22 Australian companies who are leading the way when it comes to setting and achieving targets for gender equality in their senior executive teams – we are now able provide all businesses with insights into their tips and tricks to make this dream a reality.

Chief Executive Women (CEW) and Bain & Company today released a report, “Take it from the Top: Accelerating Women’s representation in Executive Leadership”, that identified five simple and actionable ways that companies of all sizes can implement when it comes to female representation in senior leadership teams.

The five initiatives are based on common success factors of 22 Australia companies which have an average of 42% women in their executive teams, including Telstra, BHP, Coles and Mirvac.

The report found that although most companies implemented all five strategies to achieve a more gender-balanced leadership team, each company used different programs and initiatives to execute these strategies.

Take Telstra’s Parental Leave policy as an example. The policy, which was updated in 2019, enables every parent – regardless of gender – to be able to share caring responsibilities while maintaining their career.

After the birth of his first daughter Grace in 2020, Telstra Principal Intercompany Service Manager Mark Soffer experienced just how much Telstra’s progressive parental policy can change a family’s life.

Mark was able to take almost a full year off from work to support his wife, a hospital-based doctor, who had to return to work when the second wave of COVID-19 hit Victoria.

It was a truly life changing policy for us, not only did it enable me to put my family first, but it allowed my wife to support the broader community during a really significant crisis,

said Mark.

It also has had the added benefit of being the foundation of an incredibly strong bond for my daughter and I, one that was strengthened by the flexibility and support of both Telstra’s progressive Parental Leave Policy and my broader management team.

Mark plans to make the most of the parental leave program again when his second child arrives in mid-August.

Telstra’s Parental Leave policy is just one way companies can create opportunities for more diversity in senior leadership teams.

CEW and Bain & Company’s report, “Take it from the Top: Accelerating Women’s representation in Executive Leadership”, identifies the following five initiatives as ways to accelerate the number of women in leadership teams.

Image created by Bain & Company.

To read the full report, click on here.