Removing barriers to entry for women when defining the role requirements
The National 2017 Group
Male Champions of Change aim to achieve gender equality and accelerate the advancement of more women into leadership positions. We strive for gender balance at all levels of our organisations. Without removing barriers to entry for women we risk missing out on the best candidates. We must understand and remove the biases that may be hidden in the way we recruit and develop talent.
Internal investigations by some organisations in the MCC National Est. 2017 Group found barriers to entry for women. It was evident in many traditionally male roles, such as driver and operator job requirements. Further investigations revealed barriers such as:
mandatory technical qualifications and license requirements
lack of flexibility in a 24/7 manufacturing environment
assumptions that women would not want to work in the environment
assumptions about critical experiences that precluded most women from applying for roles
Redesigning job requirements with women in mind helps with removing barriers to entry for women and expanding the talent pipeline. Here are some practical examples from our members on removing barriers to entry for women:
Transdev case study: Journey Maker Academy
What we heard: A significant barrier to entry for drivers was the technical license requirement. For example, bus driver applicants previously needed to hold a Medium Rigid or Heavy Rigid Licence.
Action taken: Transdev launched the ‘Journey Maker Academy’ which offers funding for the licensing program while training new hires on how to be a bus driver.
In addition to dismantling the licensing barrier, Transdev redesigned role descriptions to focus on the provision of positive customer experiences; rather than technical requirements.
Transdev introduced a cultural change initiative to educate managers on the requirement to expand the talent pool; address their own biases; and increase their leadership skills.
Impact: As a result of this program in the Melbourne business, the bus driver applications received from women doubled, to 24%. The number of women hired doubled, to 14%. The Journey Maker Academy is a practice that has been in place in Perth for 3 years where they now have 35% women drivers. Quarterly, Transdev run a women-only Journey Maker Academy due to the popularity of the role and career opportunities.
Through the car license upgrade program, Journey Maker Academy, Transdev have been able to attract, recruit, and on-board more women and culturally diverse people who may have never considered transport as a career option. Transdev also noted that the Journey Maker Academy new hires were more engaged and had lower attrition rates than their experienced bus driver or truck driver colleagues.
Hanson case study: Providing training to secure licences
What we heard: Holding a truck licence was mandatory for concrete mixer drivers, creating a barrier to expand the talent pool, particularly for women. Usually when Hanson advertises driver vacancies, they receive no applications from women.
Action taken: Hanson partnered with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to offer successful applicants training to secure a truck licence. As a result, expanding the traditional talent pool, particularly for women.
Social media was a crucial aspect of the attraction and recruitment process. It ensured wide-spread promotion of the program, because women without a Heavy Driver License are not looking for heavy driving jobs.
Impact: Hiring drivers with no driving experience provided a recruitment design challenge but also allowed Hanson to focus on other personal qualities. Two half-day facilitated group assessment centres were run to screen 30 short-listed candidates for 8 positions.
One benefit of the program is the positive impact the new recruits have had on the work environment and customer interactions.
Hanson has been able to attract, develop and retain a group of energised people by starting their careers as professional drivers. The company has also been able to instil high standards from day one, prevent the development of any bad habits and put their trucks on the road with confidence.
Viva Energy Australia: Advertised part-time refinery operator roles
What we heard: A significant barrier to entry for Geelong refinery operators was the assumption that these roles needed to be performed on a full-time, 24/7 shift roster and that a trades qualification was required.
Action taken: Viva Energy dismantled the full-time barrier and advertised roles as part-time. Our advertising campaign and recruitment process highlighted the ability people would have to manage commitments outside of work; as well as our leading benefits in parental leave and above market superannuation. Plus, we challenged the traditional competence requirements by using behaviours not qualifications as a priority in recruitment.
Impact: As a result, in 2019, Viva Energy moved from zero part-time operators to fourteen, all of whom are women. Their part-time operators are having a positive impact on the culture, bringing different thinking and questioning long-held assumptions.
Viva Energy now has plans to grow their number of part-time operators. This includes the transition to a retirement program where older operators have the option to move to part-time before retiring.
Recruiting the part-time operators in a group has provided them with a great source of support.
Asking employees to invite family members to apply for the part-time roles helped build support for the approach early on.
Flipping the thinking from the rigid qualifications to the behaviours operators need for success, enabled Viva Energy to recruit, train and retain competent part-time females.
Viva Energy needed to invest in ensuring induction, training and shift patterns are tailored to part-time operators. This enable these operators to meet all of the requirements to become fully qualified.
We have identified practical actions to interrupt bias when attracting, recruiting and retaining the best candidates in the 40:40:20 For gender balance – Interrupting bias in your talent processes toolkit. The toolkit details lessons learnt from in-depth reviews of recruitment, promotion and talent processes and is available for any leader to adopt or adapt for use in their organisation.