Flexible working is at the top of priority lists for many job seekers these days, with 38% of respondents in a recent survey rating it more important than pay. But flexible working is often viewed by others as signalling a lack of commitment to the job or with an expectation that pay rates should be lower. Gemma Lloyd, co-founder of DCC Jobs, Australia's first, and only, job site that screens organisations around the policies they have in place for supporting women in the workplace, is doing her very best to change negative perceptions around flexibility and to ensure women have access to the workplaces of the future. We asked her some questions to find out more.
Q&A with Gemma Lloyd
What initially lead to you become one of the co-founders of DCC Jobs?
Having worked in companies that supported women and those which prescribed to archaic, inflexible policies, Valeria [Ignatieva] and I decided to launch a job site that would ensure women had access only to the most forward-thinking workplaces. With the support of some of corporate Australia’s largest employers including: Cbus, BHP, Accenture, AECOM, NAB, CBA, Schneider Electric, AustralianSuper, Atlassian, MSD and Xero, we have built a thriving business where women can find jobs with companies focused on pay equity, flexible working, women in leadership, paid parental leave and much more.
DCC Jobs is also driving strong social change as 80% of employers who do not meet our pre-screening criteria go on to improve. We’ve seen rejected companies go from 4 to 16 weeks paid parental leave, conduct pay gap analysis across their organisation and then fix it, and remove the minimum tenure required for a new employee to take primary carers leave.
How can job seekers best utilise your services?
DCC Jobs is Australia’s only job site which pre-screens employers based on their policies and initiatives around supporting women in the workplace. DCC turn down around 10% of employers who apply to advertise jobs, because they don’t meet our criteria. DCC lists employer information which is not publicly available anywhere else, including amount of paid parental leave on offer, support for equal pay, flexible working arrangements, employee engagement scores plus more. Our job seekers have access to this information on our website and can analyse each employer before choosing to apply for jobs with them.
What is the criteria for organisations to become Flex Able Certified?
The purpose of DCC Jobs Flex Able Certification is to allow employers that walk the talk on flexible working to differentiate themselves from other employers and be easily identifiable to job seekers who value flexible working arrangements.
The Flex Able Certification is an annual audit process based on evidence of the following:
- The CEO and senior leadership team support flexible working. The tone at the top is a key driver for the implementation and uptake of flexible working throughout an organisation.
- A number of flexible working arrangements are on offer and are supported throughout the organisation. We recognise flexibility means different things to individuals and there are many forms of both formal and informal flexible working arrangements.
- Flexible working is promoted to employees so they are aware it is available to everyone and their career will not be limited by using it.
- Managers are supported in their management of flexible work arrangements.
…and how long does the certification process usually take?
It depends on how advanced the company is with their flexible working policies and practices. It could be a matter of days, sometimes months if they are very early on in their flexible working journey. DCC reject around 15% of employers who apply to be Flex Able Certified as they cannot fully demonstrate compliance with our criteria.
What has been the uptake from the finance industry for your services?
Finance and tech are the highest percentage of the DCC Endorsed Employers. We work with Cbus, AustralianSuper, CBA, NAB, Macquarie Group, BOQ, Rabobank and Reserve Bank of Australia to name a few.
What’s your opinion on female board quotas?
I am 100% and unapologetically for gender quotas as we should have at least 30% representation of each gender on boards (I also liked Senator Penny Wong’s suggestion of 40% male, 40% female and 20% either way). I don’t believe this is likely to be legislated any time soon by the Australian Government. I do wish they would follow in the footsteps of forward-thinking regions such as Germany, France and Norway. Countless research has demonstrated the business and economic benefits of having more women on boards. The recent report for Queensland Government by Deloitte Access Economics, revealed that gender parity on Queensland boards will deliver $87 million in productivity gains without any additional workers or hours worked.
Considering this, I’m pleased to see CEO’s such as Ian Silk from DCC Endorsed Employer AustralianSuper using shareholder activism to drive board gender diversity. People often incorrectly believe introducing quotas will negatively influence merit based appointments however, with merit being defined by the dominant group, this isn’t an objective view. Research has also shown that quotas create more of a meritocracy, partly because over time the pool of candidates gradually becomes larger. The reality is that the gender equality conversation has been happening for decades with little to no movement- without more of a “stick” (such as quotas), I sadly don’t think we will see any noteworthy progress.
Can you tell us a little more about DCC Job’s ‘Flexible Working Week’ initiative, and any other initiatives that you offer?
In June 2017 DCC launched the country’s first ever Flexible Working Week, to encourage more discussion between women and their employers about flexible working arrangements. Flexibility in the workplace is one of the key elements to a good work culture, and is important for all employees.
Flexible working is not just for mothers returning to work, but for those with other caring commitments, health reasons, sporting interests, people looking for an alternative to retirement and those pursuing side projects. Companies with the most engaged workforces offer flexibility, and are focused on creating an inclusive culture where the reason for needing flexibility does not matter. A Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2015-16 survey, which includes data from more than 4,600, non-public sector organisations with 100 or more employees, found that in Australia, just over half (53%) of employers have a flexible working policy, and just over a quarter (16%) have a flexible working strategy in place. Flexible working hours are also essential to retaining good staff, who, while engaged at work, may not always be able to come into the office.
Other initiatives include our, Superhero Daughter Day, which is an initiative by DCC Jobs and Tech Girls Movement to encourage primary school aged girls to get excited about STEM. Held in March throughout various locations, the event is a unique International Women’s Day Celebration (IWD) celebration. The idea came to us in 2016, when we were searching for an alternative to the morning tea/lunch event options, and decided to create a hands on event for our next generation of women in tech. Together with partner organisations across Australia and New Zealand, the event introduces girls in year 1-7 to the exciting world of STEM through engaging activities and workshops and gives them the opportunity to meet inspiring female role models.
Since its inception in 2016, the event has engaged over 1,000 superheroes and their parents/guardians. Beginning as a one-off event in Brisbane in 2016, Superhero Daughter Day took place in 9 cities in Australia and in Auckland, NZ in 2017.
"I am 100% and unapologetically for gender quotas as we should have at least 30% representation of each gender on boards."
In a recent survey, you found 38% rated flexibility as more important than pay when looking for work. Why do you think we are seeing this shift in priorities?
This is an interesting question because as DCC work with such great employers, I don’t believe that competitive pay and flexible working need to be mutually exclusive. There is absolutely no reason why someone who chooses to work flexibly, should be paid any less. In fact, flexible working will likely result in an employee being more productive, happier at work and result in higher profits or reduced costs for the employer.
Regarding pay equity, it is likely some women aren’t aware of the fact they could be getting paid less than their male counterparts. It’s not something I even considered earlier in my career. The recent pay gap statistics by the WGEA show a 15.3% disparity. In my dealings with employers going through the DCC criteria process, I have come across organisations with a gap of up to 14% in like-for-like positions.
The good news is DCC is encouraging employers to become Pay Equity Ambassadors and the latest CEO’s on the list are from Laing O’Rourke, Robert Bird Group and QinetiQ. To become a Pay Equity Ambassador, their organisation must have:
• Undertaken a pay gap analysis of its workforce in the last two years,
• Taken action on the results, and
• Communicated their pay equity initiatives to their employees.
" I don’t believe that competitive pay and flexible working need to be mutually exclusive."
Recently you interviewed 500 women from different industries about what they wanted from their role. What was the most surprising finding/s from this research?
Gender neutral parental leave policies attracted the highest proportion of consensus across all our respondents.
DCC Jobs has had a tremendous effect on promoting gender neutral parental leave policies. Organisations we have engaged with have increased the amount of paid parental leave weeks, included paid leave for secondary carers and changed the way they speak about parenthood. 86% of DCC Endorsed Employers have gender neutral parental leave policies in place. Finding gender neutral parental leave policies at the top shows that women are interested in policies that are beneficial to both women and men. Professional Development was the third most popular choice after flexible working. We are certainly seeing that women prioritise and consider life long learning and continuous improvement key to workplace satisfaction.
With multiple proven benefits in flexible workplaces, including increased productivity and revenue, why do you think only 50% of non-public sector organisations (with over 100 employees) support flexible working?
There’s a misconception that asking for flexibility means that you’re not committed to your career or employer and people are afraid to ask, both women and men.
Employers don’t always understand there are many kinds of flexible working and therefore don’t even consider it in the first place. Furthermore, employers sometimes wrongfully think that a role simply can’t be done flexibly. When one of the banks announced partnering with DCC, they also extended flexibility into a traditionally non-flexible role – call centres. This demonstrated that when an organisation makes the commitment and empowers leaders to explore the “what if”, positive change can happen. Introducing flexible working was designed to improve the work-life balance of call centre staff, both women and men.
Lawyers are another profession known for long hours and inflexible work culture. Luckily, DCC work with employers shattering those stereotypes and trailblazing a new way of working. Australian law firm Colin Biggers and Paisley are the first legal firm to be Flex Able Certified. They recently shared an employee story from lawyer Marcus Carbone who combines his professional career with a rugby career, making use of the firm’s flexible working policy.
What are your goals for DCC Jobs over the next 12 months?
DCC will continue to grow and create an impact in Australia however, we are also expanding overseas. Many of our multi-national clients have asked when we will be able to replicate the impact we’re having here in other regions. Our first stop in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong. It’s exciting times for DCC and our Endorsed Employers, I’m so pleased we could be a part of driving this change!