It’s still tough for women at the top: the boy’s club reigns

MP900438566The number of women in executive roles has languished around the 10% mark for the last ten years or so.  A recent survey may hold a key to why this is so.

The latest survey just released by Executive Women Australia (EWA) shows that many women believe male-dominated referral networks are so active and endemic that they constitute a real barrier to advancement for women.

Around 2/3rds of professional women in Australia still believe they are limited in progressing to executive roles because the ‘boys club’ mentality still determines succession and as a result, those networks have little experience in dealing with female top executives.

“Many senior roles are filled via referrals, and the reality is that the current field of executives is dominated by men. This creates an ongoing employment cycle that excludes women, and limits transparency in the recruiting process.

It is important that we break this cycle of male employment, and open our eyes to the
overwhelming evidence that suggests diversified boards outperform non-diversified boards.”

So stated EWA director Tara Cheesman. Executive positions on average become vacant every three years , and leaders tend to look within or to their networks to fill roles.  Arguing the point, “When the boss comes and says ‘Do you know somebody great for this job?’ they think ‘If I can do this job, he can do it. If I get along with this person, he will fit in too’,” Cheesman said.

Cheesman doesn’t believe men are deliberately sidelining women. It’s more that men with male friends in the same field often help each other with their careers. “A lot of men don’t see themselves as the person who’s going to help their female friends in their career,” she said.

Based on the opinions of some 500 EWA members, women also believe men are better self-promoters than women. Many ASX 500 employers haven’t had female executives previously as demonstrated by the fact that of today’s  ASX 500 companies, only one third have a female executive at board level.

Finally, less than 2% of survey respondents believe the new Workplace Gender Equality Act will make any impact on the ‘glass ceiling’.

Get Ready for a New Year

Gosh, less than a week to Christmas and so much to do! Where do we get the time to recover from one year before we hit the next and start all over again?!?!

That lull time in between Christmas and New Year is ideal. It’s that time when you sludge about from over-eating at the Christmas table; or when you loll back by the beach with a book in hand. Or generally just take it easy.

Use that time to do a few things that will set you in a great frame for the year:


  1. Clear out the clutter

    Feng shui endorses getting rid of the old to make way for the flow of energy and the new. No matter where we live or work, we’ve always got stuff we stockpile that we don’t need, and that others may benefit from. So start in one place that’s bothering you – it may be the bookcase or the wardrobe or the pantry. (For me, it’s the pantry – heaven knows how old some of those herbs are!). Set aside an hour and a half and clear out what you can. Stick to the timeframe or you’ll just create a real mess and end up spending the whole day and then get frustrated at the extra work! Bag up the things you can give-away and toss the rest into the garbage. When you’re done, celebrate with a little treat – for me that may be a tipple from the bottle of sherry in the pantry Smile

  2. Unsubscribe

    Our inboxes (plural because most of us have more than one), get chock-a-block full of material that no longer serves us. We may have subscribed because we wanted the info at the time or we may have received the newsletters for some other reason. Go through your inbox and unsubscribe from anything that does not add value, annoys you or just doesn’t inspire you or make you feel good. If there are a few you want to receive but don’t want them cluttering your inbox, create a rule for them to go straight to a holding folder so you can look through them when you need to. I use this for newsletter that may give me ideas for my blog content for example. Just make sure you schedule time to go through them and clear then out regularly. While you are in your inbox, answer any outstanding emails and file away important ones, deleting what is no longer required. Just because you can keep electronic ‘stuff’ doesn’t mean you have to!

  3. Commit to better habits

    Reflect back on what could have been better and you’ll realise our results rely on our habits. Decide to develop and practice new, better habits in the new year. For me there are two:

    1. adopting D.I.N. Come on – I know some of you procrastinate like me. “I’ll do that later” becomes a mantra. And, ‘later’ never comes. But a big snowball of to-do’s does pile up. So I commit to Do It Now. When I’m handling something and I know it will only take a  couple of minutes, I will do it now rather than file it away for later or rescheduling it.  When I receive an email or a phone message I will do it now rather than trusting my memory to respond later. I’m working on the principle that by doing it now I will avoid that piling up of overwhelming tasks and letting things slip away in time.
    2. eating fresher food. I realise my energy levels are higher when I eat less manufactured or produced food (think take-away, frozen, junk,  heavily sauced and smothered restaurant food) and have more fresh vegetables and salads. When I’m more energetic I’m usually more productive as well. So next year I am continuing my recently developed habit of eating the freshest food I can wherever I am.
  4. Plan ahead

    Really take the time to think about what this next year will look like for you. What will be the biggest challenges and opportunities? Where will your time and energy be best spent? How will you maintain focus on the important things rather than the urgent or unimportant? Spend the time during this break to map out a series of four 90 day plans. Those 90 day plans need to be about the BIG things you want to achieve and how you will achieve them. The everyday will take care of itself but the big things get lost in the busy-ness. Keeping a visual roadmap of the year’s key outcomes will inspire you and remind you so you can reflect on more achievements at year’s end.

What The New Workplace Gender Equality Act Means To You

workplace gender equality act passedJust recently, new measures were enacted into the Parliament, mainly to address the issue with gender inequalities in Australian workplaces. The Australian Government introduced newly modified legislation to Parliament.


This legislation depicted the intention of improving and subsequently continuing the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act, in addition to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency. The move was successful, as the amendment bill for the aforementioned Acts passed on November 22nd of this year.


The amended Act is now referred to as the Workplace Gender Equality Act. To correspond with the aforementioned, the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency is now the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.


The main objectives of both Acts will help combat gender inequalities and improve gender related workplace diversity. This comes in the form of promoting and improving workplace and employment related gender equality, in addition to supporting employers to remove barriers preventing women from fully participating in the workplace. In other words, the newly amended Workplace Gender Equality Act is designed to bring light to the issues Australian women face at work.


As a woman in today’s workforce, the WGEA will expose and help correct the barriers preventing you from seeking work. Workplace inequalities have always been present within in the Australian workforce. Several studies, with substantial evidence, have proved these inequalities over the years.


In fact, women have been under-represented in higher earning positions and industries. It has created a 17.5 percent gap as a pay discrepancy between the salaries of men and women. Many attribute the discrepancy to ingrained cultural stereotyping and expectations, however the issue is so important that trivial matters like the aforementioned shouldn’t be used as a scapegoat.


A significant change with the new Act helps women better combat workplace discrimination in Australia. Employers have always been required to report data relating to the gender composition of their workforces.


The WGEA now requires employers to submit more details information to the Agency. Most of the information is available to view online, allowing analysis and evaluation of their results by the public and other sources. Employers will have to disclose information to both employees and shareholders regarding their gender composition data.


This newly implemented system will allow employers to keep track of the gender discrepancies found in their workforce. Through the implementation of this act, the security of the Australian workforce is expected to continue prospering through the advancement of gender quality in the workplace.

Details – click here.

Springboard Public Programs 2016

Springboard Women's Development Program 2013


The insanely popular Springboard Women’s Development Program is all set up and ready to go for 2015. Grab the brochure here or head over to to find out more information about it.  Check out the HUGE deal when you book and pay early.


Springboard matches the agenda to increase women’s equity and participation in the workforce.

Springboard Women's Development Program 2013

Team Building Debunked!

Recently I had a request for a management team get together to motivate and inspire the team.

When I met with the prospective client, it clearly turned out that there was absolutely no reason to run the training event other than as a reward. Now, that can be a valid reason for an event to run, but if that’s the case, what you want is a different solution than training.

Personally the feedback I receive from clients and participants is centred around being inspirational. It’s not that I set out to be that. It’s just how I operate as a trainer. I certainly don’t jump around the front of the room and get people standing on chairs and shouting out. I leave that to far more capable “edu-tainers”.

I have no doubt that the prospective client found someone who would take his budget funds and run a motivational event. It’s just not my gig. I also believe training is about development of skills, knowledge and attitudes – not making people feel good for a short while and have a warm memory to reflect upon.

Which brings me to the point I wanted to make – training is often not the solution!

Heresy from a trainer, perhaps. Yet well argued in this article about the team-building culture around training.

In my book, I’m happy to train anyone – where I believe there is a training need and I can add value by working the solution.

team building

Web 3.0 Job Ads

As a recruiter in a former life, I bemoaned the standardisation of job ads and recruitment pages on web sites.  It was hard to stand out from the pack and attract great candidates when everyone advertised in much the same way. When I tried a different way od advertising jobs, I wasn’t able to convince the hierarchy that it would make a difference to the pool of talent we would attract.

I’m glad to see that some areas such as government job ads have stepped outside the box and focussed on things like lifestyle and challenge to attract candidates.

These days, there is more originality but most follow the same model we’ve been following since the 50’s.

While researching today I fell upon a “work with us” page that was definitely different.


At Crowd Favourite, they are leading edge developers. Geek stuff. So the stormtrooper image most likely appeals to many in that market.

What I especially like is that they are more into ethos and capability than job titles and benefits.

It’s worth a look for picking a few ideas that can transport (beam me up, Scottie – oops, wrong galaxy) to other industries and market sectors.

All it takes is a typical marketing mindset

  • what does your potential recruit want?
  • what can you provide that they might want
  • how can you connect the two on an emotional level?

I’m hoping Crowd Favorite are highly successful in attracting the right people for their growing business. I love their work with WordPress. Pity I’m not a geek!

Impact on Learning

training & development - playing chess with careersThe storms of economic turmoil have not passed us by in Australia and the issues in Europe in particular continue to reverberate strongly.

It is considered in certain quarters that Australia is in recession albeit a soft one although the balance is precarious.

From an L&D perspective, the question remains – how can we continue to develop staff and leadership skills in an environment of continuing financial restriction?

Money, of course, is not always the issue with providing training and development opportunities.

In future sessions we will look at some of the low-cost training methods which can provide impact on business capability through developing staff and leaders.