It’s been a big six months for the Embrace Difference Council and another rollercoaster of a year for all of us in general.
We’ve continued to see an unprecedented evolution of how we live and work this past year. It’s accelerated the ambitions for best-in-class workplaces of the future and turbocharged flexible working frameworks that better enable more inclusive and diverse teams. There’s still so much more that needs to be done. It’s encouraging to see drinks businesses invest more in their recruitment processes to eliminate unconscious biases when hiring and to gear up for systemic change as we strive to build more diverse and inclusive workforces. We also need to ensure we’re achieving more diversity in the pool of applicants who apply for our roles in the first place.
Our responsibility in this space doesn’t stop with our role as an employer. As an industry, we are the custodians of some of Australia’s most recognised and marketed brands, so we also need to ensure we’re supporting inclusion and diversity in how we portray society through our brands too.
In 2020, 70 per cent of all drinks companies analysed their payroll to determine any remuneration gaps between women and men and access to paid primary carer parental leave increased by 7 per cent with 75 per cent of all companies now offering paid parental leave to primary carers. Sixty-three per cent of all drinks members companies saw an improvement in female representation at the Management level but the job won’t be done until we see equal representation across the industry.
In a year defined by isolation and uncertainty, mental health and the wellbeing of their people has become a central focus for business leaders in the drinks industry. The strong attendance at August’s Health & Wellbeing in the Workplace webinar was testimony to just how central mental health has become in the Australian workplace. Great thanks to Emma Baldwin and our participants for their leadership and generosity in being part of the session.
To the Council itself, Sandra Gibbs has led the See Difference to complete all four levels of the toolkit, completing the groundwork started by Madelyn Ring, Nicole Stanners and their teams in 2019, while Angela Burgum and Tonya Cronin have continued work on the 2022 scorecard which will be released to Drinks Association member companies in February next year.
I strongly encourage member companies to take advantage of these best practice resources to advance their businesses further along the D&I curve. There remains much work to be done and room for improvement.
Welcome to Stephanie Shedden who has stepped in to lead the Create Difference workstream and our thanks to Danielle Beale who co-led the workstream these past two years. The Create Difference workstream is currently progressing plans for the International Women’s Day event to be held in Sydney next March as well as creating a schedule of State Chapter events for the year designed to educate and inspire us to do better in this great industry in which we are all so lucky to work.
Best wishes to all for a safe and happy holiday season, connecting and celebrating with your family and friends,