#Balance for better

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As we approach this year’s International Women’s Day, people have been talking about the theme #BalanceforBetter. This looks at how gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive. One major area for discussion around #BalanceforBetter is the race towards the gender-balanced boardroom. We believe that this is not only a women’s issue, but a business issue where improvements at all levels can deliver positive results.

In November 2018, Gartner reported that 75% of organisations with frontline decision-making teams that reflect a diverse and inclusive culture exceed their financial targets. Gartner also found that gender-diverse teams outperformed gender-homogeneous, less inclusive teams by 50% on average.

In Australia, the WGEA’s research on the computer system design and related services sector shows that women represent 21.1% of managers compared with other industries that are now achieving a rate of 39.1% of female managers.

The lack of gender diversity at the managerial level of the Australian technology industry is something that executive technology recruiter Christine Hubble has an active interest in. With over 25 years of experience recruiting senior technology leaders both overseas and in the Melbourne markets, she works with professionals who are ambitious and keen to achieve their potential but are unsure of how.

According to Christine, tension about reaching the higher levels of a company can prevent individuals from achieving their goals. In response, Christine has developed some steps to combat this type of thinking, ‘If one of the things that holds you back from achieving your ambitions is you,’ she says, ‘try using these steps adjust your thinking.’

Don’t limit your ambition

Start by assuming that ‘I can’. Look at the facts and ask yourself what commitment a high-level role requires. Think about the skills that are needed to get to that level and look at your current strengths and gaps.

Assume you can have it all and make a plan

Decide on your career goal and create a realistic timeframe for yourself. Include flexibility for your personal goals, like having a family or experiencing overseas travel. Look closely at the type of role you want and find out if you need to gain formal qualifications to achieve it. Remember that it’s okay to adapt the plan, but keep the end goal in mind as you negotiate change.

Communicate

Your partner, your family, your mentor and your boss all are human. They cannot read your mind! Share your ambitions and ask them for their time, their advice and their help in introducing you to others. Take the initiative and try to solve your career-related gaps before they become too big. Build a case for workplace leadership training and if you don’t know how to, ask someone in your network for help.

Who do you know?

Invest time to build your network. Without solid career support, you will miss the chance to build your professional reputation and find potential job opportunities.

Change it

Your life and time is valuable, so don’t waste it. If your environment does not support you, find an organisation that will value your time and aid your growth.

 

These steps are applicable to both men and women. Gender balance in the boardroom can only be achieved with collective action and shared responsibility. When we achieve a better work-life balance, we achieve a better gender balance.