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Making the most of quality Australian talent

Published 15th May 2015

Both businesses and recruitment experts need to keep a close eye on rising Australian talent, if the results of a recent report are anything to go by.

In the lead up to International Women’s Day in March, Ernst & Young (EY) published its sixth instalment of the Women in Leadership series. Based on interviews with eight of Australia’s next crop of female leaders, researchers found there is still a massive gender issue in the workplace.

Gender equality problems continue

One of the main findings to emerge was that despite the moves of both state and federal governments to address gender equality, upcoming female leaders are not convinced that the opportunities are available to them.

In fact, many are leaving their professions and establishing careers on their own terms. While this is a positive thing to want, for industries such as IT which are facing significant skill shortages anyway, it hurts to lose people who are talented and want more responsibility.

EY’s Oceania Markets Leader, Lynn Kraus explained that progress had been made in recent years, but doesn’t address the heart of the problem.

“The message from our future female leaders is clear: if corporates don’t fundamentally change their cultures to make their organisations genuinely attractive to young women, then this important talent group won’t join big companies or, if they do, they won’t stay,” she said in a March 6 media statement.

Ms Kraus went on to say that Australia’s university system is tailor-made for women to succeed and start rewarding careers in many industries. However, employers often overlook these candidates because they fear losing them later in time.

“Australia has one of the highest percentages of women gaining both undergraduate and post graduate degrees in the world, but we are losing the vast majority of these young women from the talent pipeline, because they can’t find employers who will support them in balancing home and career.”

How to improve this situation?

EY made a number of recommendations for businesses in order to ensure top female talent doesn’t slip through the cracks. Most of these revolved around the recruitment process and how all candidates start on equal footing.

The recommendations include unconscious bias recruitment, reaching out to the local business community to address stereotypes and allowing flexible working conditions to all employees.

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