Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Challenges of Life as a Working Dad

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I recently attended a working parent networking breakfast and panel discussion.  It was located in the centre of Sydney, in one of the city’s biggest buildings, owned by one of Australia’s most prestigious companies. There were roughly equal numbers of Mums and Dads at the event, perhaps because the topic that morning was focused on the challenges of being a working Dad.

Why working dads?

The recent Australian Gender equality scorecard released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency this month clearly shows that there is a large gap between men and women in the workplace.  Men hold the majority of full time roles, with 69.1% of men employed full time and only 40.7% of women employed full time. There is still a gender pay gap of 23.1% between men and women which is the equivalent in total remuneration of $27,000 a year.  Only 39.3% of employers have a family or domestic violence policy and or strategy. Only 48% of organisations offer a paid primary carer’s leave.

These stats aren’t great for women, but they are also not great for men.  More specifically for families and working Dads who form part of the working family equation with 65% of families having both parents working.  This means that the lack of paid carer’s leave, and the large difference in total remuneration directly impacts families as a whole.  Sometimes in a negative way as we will see below with Dads feeling that their key responsibility is still to support their families financially, and only slightly less so to support their families emotionally and physically – in a way their fathers rarely felt.  In effect they are torn between their often competing responsibilities of work and family.

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How can we address ‘unconscious bias’ in the workplace when we haven’t addressed ‘conscious bias’ yet?

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“Unconscious bias”. These are certainly buzz words bound to draw an enthusiastic response from progressive business leaders. Training on unconscious bias helps to raise awareness of blind spots and remove or reduce the possibility of unconsciously discriminating against those who do not match the value system we have developed throughout our lives.

Research and training in the area of unconscious bias almost always includes a focus on gender. This is great news given gender diversity challenges in Australia. Australia needs to be genuine about wanting to improve gender equality – particularly at senior management levels, which in turn improves business and financial performance, creating smarter and more effective leadership teams. These are just two of the benefits of having more women on boards and in senior management and across business as outlined in the Melbourne Business School Gender Equality Project Report from 2013. Therefore, training people to recognise unconscious bias is a positive for businesses and for individuals.

I would suggest that unconscious bias is frequently in play when hiring candidates for leadership positions. This might manifest itself if hiring a woman is seen as a risk when it comes to her ability to fully commit to a role given her family responsibilities – current or future.  This is something we are now calling out as unconscious bias.

How conscious is our unconscious bias?

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WGEA’s latest report: How does Australia score on Gender Equality in the Workplace?

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I had the pleasure of joining our Founder and CEO Emma Walsh yesterday at the National Press Club in Canberra to listen to the Head of Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Libby Lyons deliver the key findings of the agency from the 2015 – 2016 reporting data.

You can access the findings in a reported titled Australia’s Gender Equality Scorecard, published by WGEA however a few points struck me as worth bringing to your attention.

In an ideal world both women and men would experience equality in all areas of life, including the workplace.  However, we know that this is not the case.  Each year many Australian companies with employees of 100 or more submit a report to the Agency against six gender equality indicators.  It is this data which represents 4 million plus Australian employees, that is being reported on.

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Australia Rates Second Worst in Paid Parental Leave

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Thank you Jessica Irvine for reminding Australians about the point of having a Government assisted Paid Parental Leave Scheme in your recent article –  Paid parental leave: Australian parents will become the worst off in the developed world.

We’d all be forgiven for failing to recall why it’s fundamental to the social and economic fabric of our society with the various and constantly changing views of our politicians over the last 15 years.

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Leadership Lessons for Your Teenager – An interview with Dr. Tim Hawkes

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Recently we interviewed author and educator Dr. Tim Hawkes about his book 10 Leadership Lessons You Must Teach Your Teenager. Dr Hawkes leads 1700 pupils at The Kings School in Sydney and has raised three children himself.  He says that he wrote the book because he was concerned that there was not enough information to encourage and equip his children to realise the potential of their individual skills and talents, which he says would support them to work out their destiny. As Dr Hawkes pointed out many teenagers “go missing in their own lives” and need support to help them connect  to a “purpose in their career”.

Below are a few excerts from the interview. If you would like hear the complete recording please email us here.

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