Gender equality gives organisations a massive advantage; they perform better and make stronger decisions based on diversity of thought. But our Managing Director Phil Vernon explains why that’s not the reason why we need gender parity now – it’s the moral obligation we all have to create a world where all of us feel valued and welcomed to contribute.
The sad truth is that the corporate world is still male-dominated. The finance sector in Australia is particularly dismal, with nearly 80% of investment managers being male. Change needs to happen, and the corporate sector in particular has an ethical obligation to ensure they don’t treat groups of people differently to others.
Australian Ethical is being proactive. We’re a signatory to The 30% Club, a global commitment that means we pledge to engage with companies on gender diversity – which is something we do anyway, but joining this club has given us another reason to keep doing this. Our Chief Investment Officer, David Macri, talks about his reasons for being on the Investors Group of Australia’s 30% Club in his article, Fair Goals; The 30% Club.
We’ve also got our own robust Diversity Policy that includes procedures like sourcing 50/50 candidates on our hiring shortlists. As a result, we’ve recently hired two highly-qualified women into our investment and ethics teams. We also encourage a flexible work culture for both men and women, because there needn’t be a double standard when it comes to caring for our next generation. Our 2017 Annual and Sustainability Report (page 32) goes into detail about our current staff diversity and targets, and it’s supported by very detailed GRI Content Index reporting (pages 14-16).
There’s also the critical issue that Australian women who retire today have an average of $120,000 less in their super accounts than men. This just doesn’t add up when you think about how women tend to live longer. The inequity of women in today’s society is such a big issue that our Ethics Analyst, Ella McKinley, has crafted an article that delves into some of the many nuances of the under-funding of women’s super; Rectifying the gender imbalance.
In other news, we’re excited to say that last financial year we were the fastest growing super fund in Australia. We knew things were going well, but it was pleasing to have it confirmed by an independent assessment from KPMG. Soon after, we were awarded the ‘Fast Mover’ award by the industry organisation SuperRatings due to our extraordinary growth rate of 34% in 2016. Our returns have been continuing to perform well too. This was all happening as we refreshed our brand, which as you might notice includes a new logo, rich new colours and impactful imagery, all to help us tell our story in a way that reflects what we stand for now and in the future.