At BGIS, the diversity of our organisation plays a large role in our success, enabling us draw upon a wide-range of valued perspectives and ideas. Our 1400+ APAC team comprises people from many different cultures and nationalities, with a multitude of personal and professional backgrounds that reflect the contemporary Asia-Pacific region.
However, the facilities management industry is typically male dominated, so it’s important that we maintain a strong emphasis on supporting women to assume non-traditional roles in engineering and technical areas, as well as leadership roles. Gender diversity is a key focus area for our business in 2020 and beyond and a personal passion of mine.
Our current gender mix at BGIS is 31 per cent female in Australia/New Zealand. However, we aren’t going to settle with the status quo and are aiming for an even 50/50 ratio. In addition to our Diversity & Inclusion committee, we established a dedicated Gender Diversity committee in 2019 to improve gender mix across our organisation.
Some initiatives currently being developed by the Gender Diversity committee include a women’s mentoring program within the organisation, robust unconscious bias training for our managers and recruitment team, and de-gendering language used in position titles, position descriptions and job advertisements to ensure we’re not excluding diverse talent. The committee has also set the objective to register BGIS with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, to be recognised as an employer of choice and accountable to external benchmarking.
The important work being done by the committee is in addition to other straight-forward strategies designed to drive a better balance. We recently reviewed our Parental Leave and Flexible Working Arrangements policies to ensure they are best practice and are in the process of conducting a pay parity review to tailor an action plan to combat wage discrepancies. At present, the wage gap in Australia for women who aren’t on award rates is 21.3 per cent, while the average national difference is 13.9 per cent. We believe that eliminating this disparity is not only fair and sensible but an economically responsible endeavour.
We have also identified high-performing women within our organisation and are mentoring them to achieve their goals through career planning, professional development, or nominating them to participate in female-driven initiatives such as Property Council Australia’s 500 Women in Property program.
Further, we will grow our gender balance through talent acquisition. Our business is anticipating a strong growth trajectory over the next three to five years, and with that comes an opportunity for our diversity mix to grow, too. We are updating our recruitment guidelines to ensure 50 per cent of shortlisted job candidates are women, particularly for senior management roles. If women aren’t in the running, they can’t be recruited.
And lastly, we are establishing targets and accountabilities. While the exact metrics are still being finalised, they will include reducing female turnover, increasing the overall percentage of women within the organisation, percentage of women in senior management positions, graduate and apprenticeship programs, implementing a pay disparity target and achieving a gender balance in the talent and succession plan.
It’s important to acknowledge that a business can’t always achieve objectives such as these on its own. The key underpinning external levers for our approach are benchmarking, our partnerships with not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises such as CareerTrackers, Social Traders and Job Support, and importantly, our clients. Our clients often have diversity and inclusion targets themselves and look to us to help them achieve their goals. At BGIS, we must model the behavioural framework that we wish to see in others.
Clear accountabilities are critical, but ultimately, change comes from within. I see my role at BGIS as guiding a culture where fundamentally, our people believe in and experience the value diversity brings. Put simply, my objective is to create an inclusive environment where everyone – regardless of gender or background – feels appreciated and supported in their career goals.
By Dana Nelson, President and Managing Director at BGIS APAC