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DPC's Gender Equity Action Plan

How Victoria's Department of Premier and Cabinet is embracing innovation and collaboration to achieve real gender equity outcomes for women.

What we want to achieve at DPC

DPC is committed to:

  • Holding equal representation of women in senior leadership positions
  • Gender diversity within the workforce, including trans and gender diverse people, who may require specific approaches to ensure their inclusion and access to opportunity
  • Continuing to measure key gender metrics (including pay gap) to track progress and take action to address issues
  • Increasing support and engagement of women in development programs and experiences
  • Embedding our commitment to providing flexible working arrangements to all DPC employees so that everyone who wants and needs to work flexibly is able to, and flexibility is seen as part of business as usual
  • Identifying and addressing the impact of career breaks and other critical points impacting employment outcomes for women across the employee life cycle
  • Removing unconscious bias in decision-making in relation to recruitment, promotion, appointment and other employment matters
  • Eliminating discrimination, sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace, and
  • Promoting economic security and empowerment for women by addressing systemic issues.

Gender equality represents a complex challenge with many cultural and systemic issues to address. DPC is committed to innovation and collaboration to achieve real outcomes for women. This will involve partnering with others, sharing insights and experiences, learning and adapting as we go, and exploring new and different ways of working.

Our achievements to date

The development of the new Action Plan provides an opportunity for DPC to acknowledge and reflect on the challenges and opportunities to achieve gender equity. However, progress made on achieving gender balance to date includes the following actions:

  • There has been a positive and increasing trend in female Executive Officer numbers within the department. Women currently represent 53% of the total Executive Officer numbers, compared to 39% in June 2016
  • The introduction of ‘All Roles Flex’ has seen a significant uptake of formal flexible working arrangements with 80% agreement by respondents of the 2017 People Matter Survey reporting a positive culture within the department in relation to employees who use flexible work practices, i.e. a 16% increase on the 2016 results
  • Implementation of a RecruitSmarter pilot project which:
    • Trialled different approaches to addressing unconscious bias in recruitment processes (e.g. applicant de-identification during the application and shortlisting process), and
    • Obtained more robust data and greater understanding of the impact of recruitment practices in the context of gender equity
  • Implementation of the inaugural VPS Empowering Women for the Future Summit (November 2017) which brought together 800 participants of all genders from across the service, delivering inspiration, strategies and practical skills to empower women to reach their full career potential, and
  • Gender balance at speaking events/forums as part of the Executive commitment to the ‘Panel Pledge’ (Male Champions of Change initiative).

Our key areas of focus

This Action Plan brings together a range of goals that target gender equity at DPC and supports the Secretary in his role as an MCC.

Our priority areas of focus and enablers to achieve improvement in these areas are outlined below:

  • Leadership, measurement and accountability
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Workplace responses to violence against women
  • Career development and people processes
  • Challenging bias and unconscious behaviour, and
  • Promoting women’s economic security and empowerment.

DPC acknowledges gender diversity within its workforce, including trans and gender diverse people, who may require specific approaches to ensure their inclusion and access to opportunity. The Action Plan should be read in conjunction with the department’s LGBTI Inclusion Plan, which promotes awareness, inclusion, engagement and celebration.

Action plan

Leadership, measurement and accountability

Objective: Senior leaders and people managers champion and take action to drive gender equity

Goal: Our senior leaders and people managers champion gender equity initiatives

Accountability: Senior Executives with support from People and Culture

Activities:

  • Demonstrate leadership and proactively drive gender equity by building a culture where all genders are treated fairly and equally (year 1)
  • Undertake annual reporting to the Board of Management on the progress of activities within the DPC Gender Equity Action Plan, with reporting by Group (where possible) and discussion on achievements to date, actions taken to attract female employees to leadership positions, and issues that challenge progress (year 1)
  • Undertake bi-annual gender performance dashboard reporting to the Board of Management, i.e. representation at each classification level and pay gaps at group and branch level, to ensure gender balanced profiles are maintained (or improved) (year 2)
  • Explore the inclusion of diversity and inclusion indicators in the performance plans of all Executive Officers (year 2)

Outcomes:

  • Evidence of a workplace culture where the importance and benefits of gender equity is fully understood
  • People Matter Survey results show continued increased agreement that ‘gender identity is not a barrier to success’
  • Gender equity and gender-balanced leadership is achieved and is a known business imperative Senior leaders demonstrate the VPS values
  • There is clear leadership accountability and responsibility for measurable progress and tangible outcomes to drive change

Objective: Senior leaders and people managers champion and take action to drive gender equity

Goal: Women represent 50% at each level of leadership across all groups and branches

Accountability: Senior Executives with support from People and Culture

Activities:

  • Ongoing commitment to the Male Champions of Change’s (MCC) ‘Panel Pledge’ to ensure gender balance in speakers at events/forums, and women’s voices are heard (year 1)
  • Maintain the overall 50% women at all Executive bands (i.e. EO-3, EO-2 and EO-1) and strive for 50% women at each level of leadership across all groups and branches (year 2)
  • Encourage gender balance on all interview shortlists (year 2)

Outcomes:

  • There is an increased and targeted participation by women speaking at (internal and external) events, functions, meetings, and forums
  • Gender equity targets are maintained and there is fair distribution of women at all levels of leadership across all groups and branches

Objective: Senior leaders and people managers champion and take action to drive gender equity

Goal: Measure departmental progress and continue to identify emerging issues and areas for improvement

Accountability: People and Culture, with support from consultant engaged by DHHS 

Activities:

  • Participate in the VPS Gender Audit Project (led by DHHS) including an audit of key metrics in:
  • Pay equity to ensure all employees receive equal remuneration for comparable work
  • Recruitment and promotion to ensure there is gender balance in the people recruited and promoted
  • Gender segregation of the workforce to clarify what gender segregation exists in order to shape responses
  • Leadership representation, development and mentoring to ensure there is gender balance across all levels of the organisation and similar transition rates into leadership
  • Flexible working and parental leave so all employees can work flexibly and not be impacted by career breaks
  • Use the outcomes of the gender auditing to benchmark and analyse data and help shape responses to improve workplace gender equity
  • Communicate the results of the gender audit to all employees, what actions will be taken as a result and undertake regular status updates on achievements

Outcomes:

  • Deeper understanding of data and key issues that contribute to gender inequity and address any imbalances
  • All employees across all roles receive equal pay for equal value of work
  • Establish processes and practices that are transparent and bias-free and ensures gaps are addressed and don’t re-emerge
  • Reinforce gender equity as a key business and strategic focus and a driver for improved organisational performance and engagement

Objective: Senior leaders and people managers champion and take action to drive gender equity

Goal: Evaluate gender equity initiatives and monitor ratios across all classifications, and groups and branches

Accountability: Senior executives with support from People and Culture

Activity: Senior leaders identify gender equity gaps within their group and/or branch and develop a strategy and action plan, as part of workforce planning, to redress any imbalances (year 2)

Outcomes:

  • Increased leadership accountability at group and branch level to demonstrate proactive steps to address barriers to gender equity
  • Clear understanding of causal effects that impact gender equity

Flexible working arrangements

Objective: Flexible working arrangements are part of business as usual and all employees feel supported and empowered to successfully manage work and life commitments

Goal: Strengthen flexible working arrangements – review implementation, progress and learnings

Accountability: Corporate Services

Activities:

  • Continue to enhance existing processes and resources to support flexible working arrangements, including exploring new and innovative ways to embed flexibility. (year 1)
  • Ensure equal access to flexible work arrangements for all employees, including those with family and carer responsibilities, by shifting the conversation on flexible work from ‘why’ to ‘why not’ and challenge perceptions about flexible working practices (year 2)
  • Identify shared challenges for further action and continue to invest in enablers, including technology to support remote working (e.g. Office 365) (year 2)

Outcomes:

  • Review of progress and learning highlights insights and shared challenges and areas for focus
  • People Matter Survey results show continued increased agreement that ‘there is a positive culture in relation to flexible work practices’
  • All managers and employees are aware of, and promote the use of flexible arrangements

Goal: All employees have the choice to utilise flexible working arrangements

Accountability: All employees and people managers, and Corporate Services

Activities:

  • Develop a communications/engagement plan to showcase stories of successful flexible arrangements for all people and for any reason
  • Continue to promote “All Roles Flex” to ensure all managers and employees are aware of, and promote the use of mainstream flexible working opportunities (e.g. ongoing communications, case studies, implementation of an annual ‘Flexibility Month’ campaign)
  • Support managers to have the capability and confidence to effectively manage flexible work arrangements and build a culture where flexibility is fully embedded for their employees

Outcomes:

  • Flexibility will lead to better outcomes for all, e.g. increased engagement, reduced turnover, talent retention, greater economic security for women and carers, and greater uptake of parental leave by men
  • Flexibility is promoted at departmental, group and branch level and is fully embedded as part of business as usual
  • Mainstream flexibility is achieved by challenging perceptions about flexible working practices
  • Uptake of flexible working arrangements increases and is managed consistently

Workplace responses to violence against women 

Objective: The department and its employees actively and genuinely support those experiencing or impacted by family violence

Goal: Employees impacted by family violence are safe and supported in the workplace

Accountability: All employees and people managers, and Corporate Services

Activities:

  • Ensure employees impacted by family violence are safe and supported at work, e.g. contact information screening and changes; adjustments to time or location of work; support from security personnel; people and systems protect employee privacy, and employees who have disclosed are not discriminated against or victimised (year 1)
  • Provide resources and communicate support and referral pathways, e.g. Employee Assistance Program with family violence expertise to all employees (year 1)

Outcomes: A culture that supports employees impacted by family violence to feel safe and supported at work

Goal: Family violence is seen as a workplace issue

Accountability: All employees and people managers, and Corporate Services

Activities:

  • Continue to communicate family violence as a workplace issue including: Prevalence data and the likely level of employees experiencing violence; Stories that bring to life real experiences; Making explicit the link between family violence and gender inequity (year 1)
  • Develop a Family Violence Support policy outlining workplace support available to employees experiencing, or impacted by family violence  (year 1)
  • Incorporate information on family violence into employee touchpoints, e.g. induction and regular training updates  (year 1)
  • Integrate and promote activities on the impact of family violence in corporate calendars, e.g. International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and 16 days of activism  (year 1)

Outcomes:

  • Evidence of greater workplace awareness and understanding of the impact of family violence
  • Information on family violence is incorporated into the induction program and regular training updates to develop greater awareness
  • Departmental support is clear across relevant policies and touch points
  • Paid family violence leave shows the department’s commitment to supporting those experiencing violence

Goal: 
Build a culture that equips people managers with an understanding of different forms of family violence, prevalence and impact, and to support employees impacted by family violence

Accountability: All people managers, and People and Culture

Activities:

  • Deliver mandatory family violence training to all managers and Executives to assist and support them in the following areas: Understanding family violence, including the different forms of violence, the prevalence, and impact on individuals, families and the workplace; Recognising family violence and responding to disclosures from victims/survivors, and Understanding what to do if there are employees who may be perpetrating family violence (year 1)
  • Communicate and promote the role and responsibilities of the Family Violence Contact Officers (year 1)
  • Explore feasibility of provision of financial assistance (loan) to support employees experiencing family violence (year 2)

Outcomes:

  • A culture is fostered where all employees are confident to respond appropriately if they see or hear about family violence in the workplace
  • A workplace where employees feel supported disclosing experiences of family violence
  • People managers understand how to respond to those impacted by family violence
  • People managers are supported to deal with perpetrators via workplace policies, training and support from People and Culture to prioritise the safety of all involved
  • The department is recognised as working with our employees to support those impacted by family violence

Career development and people processes

Objective: A culture of transparency and fairness in all practices and processes which supports and empowers employees to utilise their skills to achieve full potential

Goal: Provide opportunities for leadership and career progression regardless of gender

Accountability: People and Culture

Activities:

  • Commit to consistent application of transparent and fair processes to ensure gender balance when selecting candidates for participation in leadership development opportunities (e.g. leadership development programs, coaching, mentoring, and internal higher duties assignments and secondments) (year 1)
  • Identify specialised leadership and career development programs (e.g. shadowing) that support the progression of all people into leadership roles (year 2)
  • Recognise where gender stereotypes are being applied and assess performance or leadership capability (year 2)
  • Incorporate and embed the principle of achievement relative to opportunity in the promotion and performance management process (year 2)

Outcomes:

  • Consistent application of process, and equal access for all employees to leadership opportunities that support the progression of all people into senior leadership roles
  • Workforce and cultural data shows more gender balanced results in relation to leadership and career opportunities
  • A culture is fostered where assessing achievement relevant to opportunity places more emphasis on quality rather than quantity of outputs by employees re-entering the workforce following a career break or those with caring responsibilities

Goal: Build employee and manager capability, and appreciation of the nature and prevalence of unconscious bias

Accountability: All employees, people managers and People and Culture

Activity: Source training programs and other resources which explore issues of unconscious bias and looks at the effects of unconscious bias and attitudes on decision-making for inclusion in the corporate training calendar (year 2)

Outcomes: Address systemic unconscious bias practices resulting in more objective decision-making

Goal: Address unconscious bias in recruitment practices and selection processes

Accountability: People and Culture and people managers

Activities:

  • Commit to consistent application of transparent and fair processes for all people to ensure there is gender balance in the people recruited
  • Implement key recommendations arising from the results of the RecruitSmarter Pilot Project which looked at addressing unconscious bias in recruitment. Recommendations relate to fostering diversity, application, interview and selection, and on-boarding processes
  • Review all role descriptions to ensure they are fairly described without gender bias, e.g. use of language

Outcomes:

  • Improved hiring practices that contribute to equitable outcomes for all role applicants
  • Consistent application of process, and equal access for all employees to leadership roles
  • Gender balance on all recruitment selection panels, ensuring we get the best people for the role

Challenging bias and unconscious behaviour

Objective: A culture where senior leaders set the tone and challenge any unacceptable behaviours and attitudes to eliminate everyday sexism and bias in the workplace

Goal: All employees acknowledge everyday sexism and bias exists in the workplace

Accountability: All employees, and People and Culture

Activities:

  • Host a panel event to start the conversation about identifying what everyday sexism and biases look like within DPC and what we can do to break down gender stereotypes to ensure a respectful environment free of everyday sexism (year 1)

Outcomes:

  • Heightened awareness and understanding of everyday sexism and its impact
  • Increased confidence to talk about, and challenge, sexist behaviour, including sexual harassment

Goal: Senior leaders and people managers set the tone by role modelling acceptable language, behaviour and attitudes and challenging inappropriate language, behaviour and attitudes

Accountability: All employees, leaders and people managers

Activities:

  • Senior leaders and people managers personally role model respectful behaviour, and take a lead in respectfully challenging unacceptable behaviours, i.e. sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace bullying (year 1)
  • Board members host ‘listen and learn’ sessions to help gain deeper understanding of the nature, prevalence and impact of unacceptable behaviours, and identify practical everyday actions to eliminate everyday sexism at DPC (year 2)
  • Develop tailored initiatives in response to the information and data resulting from the ‘lunch and learn’ sessions (year 2)

Outcomes

  • Senior leaders and people managers respectfully challenge behaviours and mindsets to eliminate everyday sexism and set the tone for a workplace free from everyday sexism
  • Board members elevate the conversation about everyday sexism with their employees and invite an open and respectful discussion on the topic

Goal: Monitor impact and progress over time, aiming towards zero instances of inappropriate behaviours experienced in the workplace

Accountability: All employees, leaders and people managers, and People and Culture

Activities:

  • Actively promote existing policies around equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and inappropriate behaviour (e.g. sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying) including support for staff should a complaint be lodged. (year 1)
  • Explore and implement new ways to capture information on people’s experiences of inappropriate behaviour, and measure progress and impact; recognising employees may be reluctant to talk openly and freely (e.g. confidential workplace surveys). (year 2)

Outcomes:

  • A culture is fostered where employees are both confident and knowledgeable on how to appropriately respond if they see or hear about sexism, harassment or discrimination in the workplace
  • Employees feel comfortable raising concerns about inappropriate behaviour
  • The results of workplace data show decreased instances of employees having experienced discrimination, bullying or sexual harassment in the workplace

Promoting women's economic security and empowerment

Objective: The department makes investment to advance the economic security and empowerment of women by taking action on systemic issues

Goal: Take action on systemic issues to advance the economic security of women within the VPS

Accountability: All people managers and People and Culture

Activities:

  • Raise awareness and understanding of key levers affecting women’s economic security through their lifetime, e.g. pay equity, superannuation and financial literacy (year 1)
  • Lead VPS strategies based on best practice to advance the economic security of women, including strengthening parental leave entitlements and talent management. Areas for research and development could include: Removal of the 12 month eligibility for paid and unpaid parental leave for both primary and secondary carers; Increasing paid leave for secondary carers; Continued superannuation payments during periods of paid and unpaid parental leave, and further changes to superannuation, and Talent management approaches and practices (year 2)

Outcomes

  • Increased economic security for DPC employees with caring responsibilities in terms of retirement income
  • Increased economic security for DPC employees with family responsibilities in terms of job security, potential under-employment and childcare support
  • Workforce data demonstrating substantial and continuous decrease in pay gap between female and male employees performing the same or similar tasks at the same level of classification and assessed as doing so to the same standards

Goal: Build an environment where parents and carers thrive and career choices are supported

Accountability: All people managers and People and Culture

Activities:

  • Continue to educate employees and people managers on the rights and obligations in the workplace related to pregnancy, parental leave and return to work (year 1)
  • Implement a ‘Parental Transition Support Program’ (specialist coaching and on-line support) to support the transition from worker to parent to working parent (year 1)
  • Promote access to parental leave entitlements and encourage utilisation by all people (i.e. both primary and secondary carers) (year 1)

Outcomes:

  • Increased awareness on the rights and obligations in the workplace related to pregnancy, parental leave and return to work
  • Parents feel supported and have access to specialist coaching and comprehensive information to support employee decision-making, their career, and return to work experience
  • Parents and carers thrive and are supported to balance work and in a context that normalises caring responsibilities for all employees
  • Increased awareness and understanding of the levers affecting women’s economic security

Goal: Provide opportunities that support and empower women to achieve their career ambitions

Accountability: All people managers and Corporate Services

Activities:

  • Deliver a VPS Empowering Women for the Future Summit designed to engage all people across the VPS to: Understand systemic belief women face and what we can all do to make a difference, and Inspire women to progress and take the next steps in their leadership journey (year 1)

Outcomes:

  • DPC (and the VPS) are inspired and benefit from the experience and insights of leaders who champion gender equity and can help shape attitudes and ambitions

Secretary's message

Colleagues,

As the Secretary of DPC and the head of the Victoria Public Service, I am responsible for ensuring that the government of the day receives the best possible advice from the public service.

I believe that a diverse workforce that reflects the community it serves provides the best mix of views and leads to better advice to government.

To this end, I am pleased to reaffirm the department’s commitment to building a workplace that is inclusive and equitable, where all people are given opportunities for success and to reach their full potential.

One aspect of this is building a more gender equal workplace.

DPC has made significant progress towards achieving gender equity.

Women currently represent 64 per cent of DPC’s total workforce and comprise 53 per cent (based on 02-02-18 data received from HR Shared Services) of the total Executive Officer numbers. This represents a positive and increasing trend in female Executive Officer numbers within DPC, having grown from 39 per cent in June 2016.

DPC has also introduced ‘All Roles Flex’ to give our employees meaningful control over when, where and how work is accomplished. DPC recognises that being a contemporary employer of choice requires a culture where working flexibly is business as usual. ‘All Roles Flex’ has increased the uptake of and support for flexible work arrangements at DPC.

I am proud of what we have accomplished.

The department’s success should continue to fuel our ambition for what is possible as we strive for a workplace where all people are able to contribute equally and are treated with dignity, respect and fairness.

But we cannot become complacent. Improving gender equity requires enduring attention and sustained action.

I am pleased to launch Gender Equity Action Plan 2018-2020 and strengthen the department’s commitment to improving gender equity.

The Action Plan will help to drive a culture at DPC where equality is championed and people are empowered, because flexible work is business as usual and transparency and fairness are the guiding principles of all practices and processes. Senior leaders set the tone for organisational culture and together we will challenge any unacceptable behaviours and attitudes to eliminate sexism and bias in the workplace. Through the Action Plan, DPC will continue to support those experiencing, or impacted by, family violence and take action to advance the economic security of women.

The Action Plan supports my role as a Male Champion of Change, which is to step up beside women to lead meaningful change and drive issues of equity and equality.

Sitting under the DPC Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, the Action Plan sets out a range of objectives and actions, aligned to the following themes:

  • Leadership, measurement and accountability
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Workplace responses to violence against women
  • Career development and people processes
  • Challenging bias and unconscious behaviour, and
  • Promoting women’s economic security and empowerment.

DPC acknowledges intersectionality of gender inequality. We know that achieving true gender equality will require new and different ways of working as there is no one size fits all approach to addressing it.

Every one of us has a role to play and I am committed to working with you on sustaining our progress towards increased equity and am confident we can do even more in the future.

Chris Eccles AO, Secretary

Reviewed 22 February 2019

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Diversity and inclusion team Department of Premier and Cabinet