IT CAN BE DONE
3.5 PER CENT OF CHIEF EXECUTIVES AND 17.6 PER CENT OF DIRECTORS OF
ASX200 COMPANIES ARE
such. “It’s working well. We’ve still got a long way to go though,” says Telstra Business group managing director Will Irving, who himself uses the flexibility initiative to help care for his school-aged children.
Irving says although it is too early to see what effect it will have on the number of women in leadership positions, he believes it will be more successful than any attempt at establishing a quota system.
“The big concern people have with quotas is people think they will be viewed getting a job because of who they are, not what they’ve achieved,” he says.
“We’re starting from the proposition that we will do whatever we can do to make every role flexible and that’s unleashed a level of creativity (among workers) that we have never seen before.”
friendly work practices result in reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, greater staff retention and increased morale and job satisfaction.
“How Australian men and women split work and family responsibilities continues to be a challenging issue,” he says.
“However, if more men were to embrace flexible working arrangements such as working part-time, seeking job shares or work-from-home options and increase their care-giving responsibilities, gender inequality in the workforce could be reduced.” Part-time jobs are the norm rather than the exception across all roles at National Australia Bank’s retail division.
All employees can work flexible hours in as little as two days to as many as five, while some roles that have full-time requirements, such as store manager, can be shared between two workers.
Assistant store manager Bronte King has worked for NAB for 15 years, including in various part-time roles since she returned from maternity leave three years ago. Now her senior role is also part time.
“After spending several years in head office roles I was keen to get back into our stores, working with customers and leading staff,” she says.
“I have been lucky to work with supportive managers who have understood my career aspirations.
“I have the best of both worlds. I get to spend time at home with my children but also lead a fulfilling career.”