ABC’s Progressive Gender Equality Rules Win Company Two First-Place Finishes

For years, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has performed well in Randstad’s annual “Australia’s Most Attractive Employer” survey, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the company cemented its first place position, beating out consistent frontrunner Virgin Australia and ever-present competitor BAE Systems.

In the very same year the company went on to win the 2013 Women in Technology Employer of Choice Award. Both awards came on the heels of the company celebrating 21 years of supporting women to pursue the technical side of media broadcasting.

Presented in front of over 100 of Australia’s largest employers, winning the Randstad Award is no easy feat. It takes into account a number of factors, including learning and development opportunities, career growth and progression, job content, long-term job security, workplace culture, and the ability to provide employees with a good balance between work and everyday life demands. While ABC represents a high level of excellence in each of these fields, it is believed that the organisation’s ongoing support of women in the workplace is what catapulted it into the first place spot as being the most attractive employer in all of Australia.

Recognised for its dynamic stance regarding Women’s Initiatives, the ABC was early to recognise that there was a severe lack of women in the technical side of media broadcasting. To help solve this problem, the company started their WiBT scholarship program over 20 years ago, which has now seen well over 100 women complete the program, with a number of securing ongoing long-term employment at the ABC.

Many within the industry have recognised this scholarship to be the reason why the number of female technologists have increased over the past two decades. Those within the ABC itself have risen from almost zero to 10% of the ABC’s Technical Services Technologists as of 2013.

Margaret Cassidy, acting ABC Director Technology, has said that close to 80% of all women who have been employed in Technical Services positions over these past 20 years landed employment with the ABC through these scholarships.

“We’ve been working much more closely with the various TAFE’s and other institutions around the country and they are very appreciative and supportive of our scholarship program for attracting young women to the relevant electro-technology and other courses,” said Cassidy.

Cassidy also said there was a good reason why the scholarship for women is geared specifically towards technology: diversity of thought. “The diversity of thought and approach that a diverse workforce brings to every problem that we solve and challenge that we tackle helps to ensure that Technical Services and the broader Technology Division is best placed to support the increasingly complex technology used by the ABC,” she said.

The WiBT, in conjunction with ABC’s quality-driven employment profile, is what John Puttick, Founder and Non-Executive Chairman of GBST, says is what impressed the Women in Technology Employer of Choice Awards the most.

“The awards are all about fostering equity in the technology field and we were very impressed with the size of the ABC and the level of detail it’s putting into attracting young women into careers in broadcast technology and IT.”

The strategies and policies that have been employed by the ABC are what most are accrediting to their wide-scale success in ensuring gender equity. The company’s Board is currently comprised of four female and three male Directors, and there is equal representation of both genders on the ABC Advisory Council and the ABC Executive team, which is nearly unheard of in most corporations today.

Businesses Prosper With A “People Before Profits” Approach

It’s well known that happy employees are more productive employees, which means greater creativity, increased productivity, and reduced turnover. Deb Loveridge, the Managing Director Asia Pacific of recruitment and HR services specialists with Randstad believes that companies like ABC and the other top companies such as Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Channel Seven earned the title of being one of Australia’s most attractive brands because people were placed before the business.

“Ongoing investment in your workforce takes a strong commitment from senior management,” Loveridge said. “The ABC, along with other top performing employers in this year’s Randstad Award should be commended for understanding the benefits which will be realised by placing the needs of their people at the forefront of their business.”

These companies certainly do deserve to be commended for their commitment to continually keeping their finger on the pulse and understanding the needs of both their female and male employees. Hopefully with the continuation of such awards such as the Randstad’s “Australia’s Most Attractive Employer” and Women in Technology Employer Choice Awards is what will inspire more organisations to recognise the different needs of their employees and the merit of equality in the workforce.

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