Petroleum majors' equal opportunity programs recognised

THE Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) has recognised Chevron Australia, ExxonMobil Australia, Shell Australia and Origin Energy for their recruitment efforts and for effectively enabling equal employment opportunities, particularly for women.
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“From policies to attract and retain older workers to increasing the representation of women at executive levels and helping employees maintain work/life balance, these organisations are using the family-friendly title to set themselves apart from their competition in the hope of snaring the best and brightest talent,” EOWA said.

A Chevron spokesman said in the 2006 reporting period, females accounted for almost 50% of placements within the company, which now has a workforce of about 850.

Chevron increased its recruitment of female graduates and placed greater emphasis on the professional career development of administration assistant roles.

“There has been approximately a 25% increase in our workforce in the last two years, and this strong growth is expected to continue in the next two years,” he said.

“The company believes that it is simply good business to attract and retain a diverse workforce, particularly in what is traditionally known as a male-dominated industry. The company’s flexible approach has also successfully helped to retain employees after parental leave.”

Chevron’s flexibility measures include part-time and working from home options, a keep in touch program, paid parental leave, job share, compressed work week, remote computer access, carer’s room, and a parenting course.

It also uses employee networks and committees to encourage diversity in the workplace. These include the Women’s Network, the Generation XYZ Network, the Diversity Council, Wellness and Work/Life Balance Committee, Organisation Capability Committee and Personal Development Committees.

The company’s 2007 recruitment program will support its increased efforts in exploration, development work and expanding technical capabilities, the spokesman said.

This includes the establishment of the Chevron Asia Pacific Technology Centre in Perth, which is looking to recruit 40-50 technical professionals this year.

EOWA has recognised 131 organisations with an Employer of Choice for Women citation from the Federal Government’s Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency.

Some of the initiatives include:

• University of Technology Sydney – With the appointment of two new senior executives, UTS has achieved an equal representation of men and women in top-level roles, a rarity in both the public and private sectors;

• Mallesons Stephen Jacques provides a long-term leave of absence to employees who wish to develop their careers outside the firm and who want to return to continue their career;

• The Spastic Centre of New South Wales provides an opportunity for their staff to undertake international development assignments while on full salary;

• Maddocks recognises that flexible work practices can be successful even at a senior level and are recruiting part-time staff to senior roles;

• EMI Music Australia have promoted, transferred or seconded 50% of employees into a position to enable them to gain further experience;

• Churches of Christ Homes & Community Services benchmarked all their salaried positions against similar positions within the industry, which led to a significant increase in remuneration for some employees; and

• American Express provides an allowance for women in their final trimester of pregnancy to cover parking costs or, where parking is free, these employees receive priority parking.

Organisations on the list range from local clubs or nursing homes through to international financial and legal companies. The list jumped from 116 organisations last year.

The EOWA citation is awarded to organisations with more than 100 employees that have demonstrated that they have policies and practices that support women across the organisation and these have had a positive outcome for both women and the business. Organisations must apply for the citation each year.

Organisations are reporting to EOWA that the talent squeeze is starting to pinch, according to EOWA director Anna McPhee.

“Workplace flexibility is emerging as the key issue for organisations, with many now offering extended career breaks, more opportunities to work part-time and increased provision of Blackberries and other devices to work remotely,” she said.

“We also noticed that the number of organisations introducing paid maternity leave and the duration of their existing paid maternity leave policy is also increasing.”

McPhee added that the EOWA Employer of Choice for Women citation gives women looking to join the workforce or those thinking of changing jobs the “inside information” on workplaces that match the rhetoric with practice and have outcomes to prove it.

For a complete list of EOCFW organizations, see