G+T today announced a suite of new initiatives to further accelerate its progress towards building a diverse and inclusive workforce. The firm is taking action to address barriers to women’s full participation in the workforce and help play a role in improving the representation of women in senior leadership across the legal profession.
The initiatives announced include:
- A new target to increase the representation of women in its partnership to 40% by 2023, as a critical step towards becoming a gender-balanced partnership
- Extending superannuation contributions to cover unpaid portions of parental leave for primary carers
- Providing employees with a ‘work from home IT kit’ including a full-sized screen and keyboard to enable greater flexibility in how people manage their personal commitments with the needs of clients
- Continuing to support new parents through best-practice parental leave entitlements, flexible working options and return-to-work support.
Setting an industry-leading target to help accelerate gender parity at the partnership level reflects G+T’s continued focus on its diversity and inclusion agenda as a key enabler to the firm’s future success. As we celebrate the 100-year anniversary of women’s admission to the practice law in NSW, it remains necessary to inject urgency into addressing gender imbalance at senior levels across the profession.
Managing Partner Danny Gilbert said with clients increasingly looking for firms who can deliver high quality, innovative outcomes for them in their most defining, complex times, leaders need to attract the best talent in the market and assemble diverse teams who can bring unique perspectives, experiences and skill sets to the table.
“While we have always had more than 30% of our partners being women we recognise we need to take decisive action towards creating a fully gender-balanced partnership, redressing the financial disadvantages and impact of caring responsibilities that fall disproportionately on women and making flexible work practices a reality for all our people. This is critical to enable both men and women to better balance their work and personal commitments.
“The initiatives we are announcing today are not “quick-fixes” but instead they are designed to drive a structural shift to ensure we are providing our people with the right opportunities, tools, policies and environment for them to thrive. We want to ensure G+T continues to be a place that champions equality for all. Importantly we hope our efforts will help catalyse wider action and change across the profession”, said Danny.
G+T’s on-going efforts to increase opportunities for talented women to build rewarding long-term careers and at the same time empower both women and men to better balance their work and family commitments has been recognised by external organisations such as Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), The Diversity Council and The Women Lawyers Association of NSW (WLAN). In a recent report, WLANSW named G+T as a 'gold firm' in its ranking of the best firms for women and those taking pay equity action that WLANSW considers will drive real change.
Building a gender equal firm
G+T has a long and proud history of celebrating diversity and advocating for equality, a commitment that sees it currently lead the industry with the highest proportion of female equity partners (35%) among the major top-tier firms in Australia. G+T has 59% female lawyers and women also make up 68% of senior management roles within the firm (excluding partners).
The firm is enhancing its talent development program with a focus on creating formal development pathways to build a strong pipeline of internal future leaders (both male and female), establishing a cross-practice senior leader mentoring program and improving balance of lateral hires.
Addressing economic inequality for women
Since 2014, Gilbert + Tobin has been recognised with an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation from WGEA. The citation reflects best-practice in promoting equality for women in the workplace including addressing gender remuneration gaps. While G+T’s remuneration policy remains gender neutral and regular pay-gap analysis demonstrates the firm’s performance-driven approach to compensation, the pause in superannuation earnings that occurs when women take unpaid parental leave has been identified as a contributing factor to the well-known gap in retirement savings for women versus their male colleagues.
To help play its part in promoting equal economic outcomes for women, G+T will continue to pay superannuation contributions for primary carers (both male and female) during unpaid parental leave for up to one year. G+T are also industry leaders in providing paid primary carers leave for both males and females of up to 18 weeks and secondary carers leave of up to three weeks.
The future of work
Empowering our people to work in a way that best meets their personal needs and the needs of the business is key to achieving gender equality.
The firm currently offers part-time and job-sharing roles, formalised flexible hours, policies and tools for employees to work remotely and the ability to purchase extra leave. The firm recently launched ‘Project Wings’ – an initiative that provides employees with a state-of-the-art IT hardware kit to make working from home easier, more productive and safer from an occupational health and safety point of view.