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Companies failing on gender diversity risk missing out on next talent wave

 — 1 minute read

Jobseekers value diversity, new research has shown, suggesting that CEOs with a talent challenge may need to rethink how they operate their businesses.

Companies who fail to prioritise gender diversity risk missing out on the next wave of talent, HESTA analysis of Seek's Laws of Attraction research has shown.

What the research revealed is that almost three quarters (73 per cent) of Gen Z women (aged 18-25) find diversity in the workplace a must, while nearly two in five are searching for an employer with women in leadership roles.

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“We know better gender balance in company leadership means better financial performance, better governance and stronger long-term company value, which can improve the performance of our members’ investments,” HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said.

“But what’s apparent from the data is that it’s not just investors who value diversity, jobseekers do too.

The research also revealed that Millennial women pay a lot more attention to a company’s reputation, with 57 per cent noting it is a ‘must have’ when choosing an employer.

“There’s not a CEO in the country right now who doesn't have the talent challenge at the top of their to-do list and it’s forcing everyone to rethink how they can attract the best people,” Ms Blakey said.

Investors too, she noted, are focused on how companies are creating long-term value, which critically depends on how they treat their employees.

“If companies get diversity right, it can mean better long-term performance and a stronger, more productive economy, which benefits HESTA members,” Ms Blakey said.

HESTA founded 40:40 Vision in October 2020 as an investor-led initiative to boost gender balance in the executive ranks of ASX 300 companies, bringing into sharp focus the need for companies to support their workers through better diversity and inclusion.

Data from Chief Executive Women recently revealed that just one out of the 23 CEOs appointed at ASX 300 companies during 2021 were women, with 18 women CEOs in total.

Current signatories to the 40:40 initiative have a combined value of $550 billion and represent close to 25 per cent of the index.

These companies are required to set gender targets in the shorter term and make a public plan for how they will meet those targets while reporting annually on their progress.

Companies failing on gender diversity risk missing out on next talent wave

Jobseekers value diversity, new research has shown, suggesting that CEOs with a talent challenge may need to rethink how they operate their businesses.

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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja's career in journalism spans well over a decade across finance, business and politics. Now an experienced editor and reporter across all elements of the financial services sector, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies.

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