CEO Roundtable on Gender Equity

Leone Lorrimer , 21 July 2015

Leone Lorrimer, dwp|suters CEO and Pay Equity Ambassador for the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, co-hosted the first CEO Roundtable to explore and discuss gender diversity issues in architecture. She reports on the event and the resulting action plan. 

The link between gender equity and corporate high performance is well documented, as is the persistent gender pay gap in our profession. Leadership and accountability is critical to addressing workplace gender equality. 

The Roundtable was attended by the CEOs of BVN Donovan Hill, Cox, dwp|suters, Hames Sharley, HBO+EMTB, Thomson Adsett and Woods Bagot. Hassell contributed prior input but was unable to attend. 

The energy in the room was a celebration of this important opportunity for the leaders of the Australia's largest practices to get together to discuss the industry generally as well as the importance of retaining all of its talent.

I am pleased to share the main discussion points and agreed actions.

Business Case

The high turnover of talented women is costing the industry and individual organisations.

Firms discussed establishing an overall gender diversity strategy to help them to systematically address the issues that create a workplace that excludes women.

Long Hours

Passion does not equate to working long hours. Embedding flexible work practices will help retain and attract the best talent.

Workplace Culture

The industry is male dominated, and has a culture that inadvertently favours men. ‘Meritocracy’ excludes those who are not part of the ruling clique.

Firms agreed to consider setting voluntary gender targets to improve gender performance at senior management levels and to set up a diversity council.

50/50 when it comes to recruitment for candidates and interview panels. If not, why not?

Pay Equity

The evidence shows that a gender pay gap exists.

Firms agreed to undertake organisation-wide, level-by-level and like-for-like gender pay gap analyses.

Unconscious bias training for managers will assist to create an organisation that is aware.

What Next?

Download the detailed account of the roundtable discussion, which identifies issues and includes links to resources to help address particular issues.  

Firms with over 100 employees are required by law to report annually to the WGEA. We encourage all employers to review the WGEA’s Gender Equality Strategy to help identify goals, implement initiatives and to track progress to success.  

Leone Lorrimer is dwp|suters CEO and Pay Equity Ambassador for the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. The event was endorsed by both the ACA and the Australian Institute of Architects.

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