Girls have such a strong start in life, thriving academically in their early years and making up the majority of university graduates.1 Yet in adulthood, when it comes to career progression and financial wellbeing, a significant gap emerges between men and women.
On average, women retire with 50 per cent2 less super than men, earn 18.8 per cent less,3 and face challenges pursuing an unbroken career and reaching the most senior roles in business. Only 17.3 per cent of Australian CEOs are women.4 The system is simply not designed for women to succeed.
Closing the gender gap in our society by helping women to access the same opportunities as men reaps many benefits: more taxpayers, less reliance on government payments and the pension, and a return on investment in education. Removing disincentives to women’s workforce participation would add an estimated extra $25 billion a year to Australia’s gross domestic product, according to the Grattan Institute.5
ANZ wants to help bridge the gender gap, so it has launched its Women’s Initiative to help women build their financial knowledge and manage their careers. Headlining the campaign is a short film, Smart Girls, directed by Academy Award winner Jane Campion, designed to ignite discussion and action around this important issue. And there are other practical elements to the campaign which work together with ANZ’s existing gender-diversity measures.
Introducing ANZ Women
- The ANZ Women website is a rich source of information to inspire, educate and inform women about career and financial matters. It features articles from thought leaders such as Martina Navratilova and Julia Gillard, and a wealth of information on money management.
- When it comes to thinking about their finances, women want to have a conversation with someone they trust and to access information at times that suit them. To cater to this, ANZ launched the Women's Advice Service, with financial planners available over extended hours. And for those with less than $50,000 in super, all super advice over the phone is free.
Fostering financial skills
- Saver Plus is a program that educates people on lower incomes about financial matters, including personal coaching; and for every $1 they save ANZ will match it, up to $500. To date, 86 per cent of the program’s 23,000 participants have been women.6 And 87 per cent of participants continue to save up to three years after they’ve completed the program.6
- ANZ MoneyMinded has helped more than 200,000 people improve their money skills and confidence in financial matters. Women have been the largest users of the program, making up 71 per cent of participants in 2012-2013.7 The program was developed in response to ANZ’s Survey of Adult Financial Literacy (2003) that identified a strong link between an adult’s money skills and socio-economic status.
ANZ also provides training and materials for delivery by financial counsellors and community educators to groups in need.
More super for parents and women
ANZ is committed to helping its employees close the super gap. Those who take career breaks or work part-time can miss out on significant super contributions, putting them at a disadvantage at retirement. So ANZ is taking the following actions:
- All ANZ staff on paid or unpaid parental leave, both women and men, will receive ongoing superannuation contributions for up to 24 months.
- Female employees will receive an annual $500 super payment, in addition to the super guarantee. (ANZ has received an exemption and has the support of the Australian Human Rights Commission and NSW Anti-Discrimination Board to do this.)
These superannuation initiatives directly target the need for women to regularly contribute more to their super to offset breaks in their career and the prevailing wage gap.
Diversity and inclusion
ANZ is focused on developing a diverse and inclusive workforce and supporting the financial wellbeing of staff through:
- targets for women in management
- standard flexible working hours for all
- tackling unconscious bias in hiring practises
- supporting people returning to work from parental leave
- programs such as Accelerated Banking Experiences for Women and Notable Women, to help female employees progress.
By ensuring access to such development opportunities and a breadth of critical experiences throughout their careers, women are well positioned for senior executive roles into the future. In 2014, women held 22.5 per cent of such roles at ANZ.8
ANZ has targets for at least 50 per cent female representation in key recruitment, talent and development programs. Progress has been made in improving the representation of women at certain levels. In 2014, 54 per cent of all bank employees were women and 39 per cent of all management roles were held by women. In the Australian business, women make up 43 per cent of management.8
The ANZ board recognises the importance of diversity (including gender diversity). At present 25 per cent of board members are female, which means the bank is ahead of the average ASX 200 company with an average female board membership of only 20.1 per cent.9
ANZ’s approach and progress in creating a more gender-balanced business is recognised in its citation as an Employer of Choice for Women by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (formally known as EOWA) for the eighth time.
Supporting women in business
Aside from strategies to support women’s career advancement inside the bank, ANZ is also proud to sponsor several external programs including:
- Women in Global Business, an initiative backed by Austrade that helps women-owned businesses grow and trade internationally
- Chief Executive Women, which supports female leaders and women aspiring to senior roles.
Play your part
ANZ is focused on making changes to systems to support women’s careers and their future financial wellbeing. The bank’s solutions and services are designed to empower women and help them to take action to secure an equal future for all Australians.
ANZ has started on its journey towards change. Please join us.