Forty-four of New Zealand’s leading private and publicly-listed companies have voluntarily committed to a new diversity reporting framework that heralds a huge commitment to change, and one that will enable a new generation of diverse leaders to drive New Zealand’s future economic growth and social prosperity.
In an international capacity, the reporting framework is at the forefront of reporting. It has been developed by Champions for Change on gender and ethnicity representation within the workforce and across boards, with a spotlight on leadership pipelines.
Champions for Change co-Chair, Dame Jenny Shipley, says that developing clear targets and metrics to measure diversity and inclusion is critical to breaking entrenched patterns that inhibit organisations achieving their full potential.
“As Champions for Change, these leaders are stepping up to take the lead in holding themselves accountable to an agreed set of consistent reporting standards and in doing so will be benchmarking their efforts and progress amongst their peer group as they strive towards achieving truly diverse and inclusive leadership in their organisations,” she says.
“By voluntarily coming together to share their workforce diversity data, they intend to learn from each other as they develop a much richer understanding of how New Zealand is making the best use of our people and in doing so achieve much greater social and economic performance and prosperity for our companies and our country,” she says.
Thomas Pippos, CEO Deloitte, says that diversity and inclusion deliver better business results. “Globally, our research and experience tells us it results in larger pools of talent, more diverse thinking, smarter innovation, better decision making and – here’s the clincher for leaders who might question its value – better returns for shareholders,” he says.
“Companies in the top quartile of gender diversity are 15 per cent more like to financially outperform their industry, and companies in the top quartile of ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to financially outperform their industry. This is our case for change (142KB PDF),” says Pippos.
Secretary to the Treasury, and Champion for Change Gabriel Makhlouf adds that being a diverse and inclusive country makes us stronger, more resilient and insightful. “It helps us to understand the present, better anticipate the challenges and opportunities that may arise in the future and better manage the pace, complexity and cross-cutting nature of change. Inclusive diversity in all its forms –is at the core of our continued success as a nation.”
“Half the people in the country are women,” he says. “Our labour force participation rate for women is currently at 65.3 percent, up from 56.6 percent just twenty years ago. Women are gaining qualifications at a greater rate than men but their skills are not being translated into greater career opportunities and development in the workplace,” says Makhlouf.
Global Women CEO Miranda Burdon says that the World Bank Women, Business and Law 2016 Report (3.1MB PDF) identified New Zealand as one of only 18 nations (of 173) that have no legal differences between men and women.
“New Zealand has a real chance to be a world leader in gender equality, but only if we make a meaningful commitment to lead the change,” says Burdon. “Currently women make up only 20 per cent of senior management and 17 per cent of the boards of listed companies,” she says. “We have a long way to go to reach even the 30 per cent minimum target that Australia has committed to.”
“One of the ways in which we get there is reporting. Clear reporting is crucial if change is to be achieved; because what we know is that what gets measured gets done.”
Burdon says that reporting on diversity figures helps organisations understand and track their progress, and gives them an idea of where they can improve. This approach has already led to success with gender representation on Boards in the UK, where a combination of reporting and voluntary target-setting saw the number of women on FTSE100 boards increase from 12.5% to 26% between 2011 and 2015—an overall increase of 52% over just four years.