The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, has reported that talented women continue to be wasted in and lost from the Australian workforce. A “stupid curve” is proving that women’s career progression is being blocked purely because they are ‘women’ and not because they want to leave the workplace to start a family.
Although almost the same number of women as men are in the workforce, women are virtually absent from leadership roles. Only 12% of the executive managers in the 200 biggest companies on the Australian Stock Exchange are women. Only four women are chief executives and fewer than 10% of directors of those companies are women.
The term “stupid curve” was coined by former US Deloitte boss in reference to the over-representation of men in management. Australia’s ‘stupid curve’ shows the female talent that business has wasted for too many years.
Despite such measures as paid maternity leave, flexible working practices and pay audits, business has been focusing most of its efforts on “fixing” women, assisting them to fit into the masculine culture. If business wants to stop the leakage of talent from within their organisation, they have to stop fixing women and start fixing the business environment and culture.
Bec Brideson, CEO & Creative Director of Venus Advertising, says that this is even more evident than ever in the Advertising Industry stating that there has been a slight downward trend in the number of females in top positions and Senior Management positions within Advertising Agencies in Australia. There are a mere 14 females, of 112 Creative Director positions – 98 held by males.
This is also having an interesting trickledown effect on how women are being communicated with. Coining the term the “empathy gap” based on the fact that 80% of creatives in the country are men, whilst it’s been widely stated that 80% of consuming dollars are being spent by women, Bec suggests that many Australian companies are missing out on good opportunities through lack of commitment to the right kind of communication with women. This attitude is also leading to some serious mistakes by companies that simply cannot afford to make them during this concerning economic time.