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Gender balance

While Wesfarmers’ workforce is made up of 54 per cent women and 46 per cent men, a key opportunity for the Group is to increase the percentage of leadership positions held by women.

Women hold 47 per cent of salaried roles and 56 per cent of award or enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) roles.

The Wesfarmers Diversity Policy outlines four core objectives which are used to measure performance in this area. The objectives are reviewed annually by the Board, as well as Wesfarmers’ progress in achieving these objectives. Specific progress targets are linked to senior executive key performance objectives under the incentive plan. Given the diversity of the Wesfarmers portfolio, each division has developed its own gender balance plan in line with the Group objectives.

The four objectives and indications of progress achieved for all roles at manager level and above are outlined below.

Foster an inclusive culture: This objective seeks to leverage each individual's unique skills, background, and perspectives.

In 2017, the Wesfarmers leadership model was updated to ensure that our leaders seek to “bring out the best in a diverse range of people” and “lead collaboratively across diverse networks and teams”. Understanding the different strengths and perspectives that individuals bring to our divisions leads to teams that are more engaged and higher performing. In 2017 Wesfarmers and our divisions invested in a number of town hall sessions across the Group by leading gender experts to build awareness about leveraging the economic benefits of gender balance. In addition, forums have been conducted for best practice sharing across the Group and several of our divisions conducted listen and learn sessions with female leaders and team members.

Our divisions continue to introduce and embed practices to improve access to childcare, better manage team members on parental leave, and improve take-up of flexible work arrangements. A number of our positions – from those in the executive teams to those in our stores – are filled by team members who job share or work flexibly.

Of all permanent roles at 30 June 2017, 60 per cent are held by employees engaged on a part-time basis (2016: 62 per cent). Part-time and casual roles account for approximately 73 per cent of our total workforce (2016: 72 per cent).

We recognise the importance of increasing flexibility at senior levels for both males and females. Of all employees at a manager level or above, 90 per cent of employees expected to return from parental
leave during the year ended 30 June 2017 returned on either a full-time or part-time basis (2016: 85 per cent).

Improve talent management: This objective seeks to embed gender diversity initiatives into our broader talent management processes in order to support the development of all talent.

Developing the leadership capabilities of our female and male talent so that we can have more gender balanced teams at all levels of seniority and across all functional areas, is a priority for Wesfarmers.

Over the 12 months to 30 June 2017, the overall number of women in manager or above roles increased from 30 per cent to 32 per cent. This increase was reflected across various levels of management, including general manager and manager levels, with only the senior manager level experiencing a slight decline in the representation of women managers. 26.5 per cent of all nominated successors to leadership positions across Wesfarmers and its divisions are female.

Female employees represented 33 per cent of all internal promotions at manager level or above, falling slightly from 35 per cent during the previous year.

The Group Managing Director meets twice a year with each division to discuss succession plans and the pipelines of high-potential leaders and ways to ensure divisions are successfully attracting, retaining, and promoting current and future female leaders.

Women continue to comprise 28 per cent of the divisional leadership team succession pipeline population (roles that report directly to a divisional Managing Director).

Enhance recruitment practices: This objective is a commitment to hiring the best person for the job, which requires consideration of a broad and diverse talent pool.

Wesfarmers seeks to tap into 100 per cent of the available talent pool for any given role or function. Several of our divisions have put in place structured hiring processes to ensure diversity in recruiting. For instance, through the “hiring for leadership” process, Officeworks mitigates the risk of bias by including a balanced hiring panel.

In the 2017 financial year, 49 per cent of all externally recruited positions were filled by women
(2016: 48 per cent). Of all externally recruited positions, 47 per cent of all general manager new hires
(2016: 30 per cent), 37 per cent of senior manager new hires (2016: 36 per cent) and 37 per cent of all
appointments at manager or above levels (2016: 39 per cent) were filled by women.

Ensure pay equity: This objective aims to ensure equal pay for equal work across our workforce.

Since 2010, a Group review of gender pay equity has been conducted annually, with results reviewed by the Board and divisional Managing Directors. Over this period the company has aggressively moved to close any pay equity gaps. For Australian salaried employees Wesfarmers has been able to maintain the pay gap at all managerial levels of the organisation to five per cent with the exception of the General Manager level which stands at 8.1 per cent. Any apparent gaps are analysed to ensure such gaps can be explained with reference to market forces which may include, for example, different rates of pay in different industries, location, the relative supply and demand for different qualifications, individual performance and experience.

Every year, Wesfarmers businesses lodge their annual compliance reports with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). A copy of these reports may be obtained via the WGEA website here.

Wesfarmers is a signatory to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles. Our support of the principles is consistent with our ongoing commitment to gender diversity and aligned to the work we are currently doing across the Group.