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Opportunities to remove gender as a barrier to senior leadership

21 November 2019

We wanted to understand the barriers to reaching the Premier's gender equality target for senior leadership roles in the government sector. Today we are launching the findings of research we conducted in partnership with the Public Service Commission, Customer Service, Stronger Communities and Transport Clusters.

Research findings

We are excited to tell you what we learnt from analysing 1.1 million job applications, 500 survey responses and 65 interviews.

We identified 10 opportunities to remove some of the obstacles facing women rising to senior roles in NSW:

  • remove opportunities for bias in recruitment systems, such as removing identifiable information from CVs
  • increase visibility of, and contact with, female leaders
  • shift informal social norms, such as subtle cues in calendar settings that reward and sustain a nine-to-five culture
  • set KPIs for flexible working
  • simplify the job application process to increase the number of applications submitted
  • use gender-neutral language in job descriptions
  • remove self-evaluation from performance reviews
  • encourage women to take up promotional opportunities
  • only include essential criteria in job advertisements
  • provide comparable and actionable feedback on performance

This project is part of BIU's wider program of work on applying behavioural insights to support the Premier's commitment to a world class public service through diversity. Previously we wrote about how behavioural insights can be used to drive public sector diversity by summarising findings from the academic literature. In the coming months we will share the results of a trial we ran to encourage job candidates to reapply for senior leadership roles after narrowly missing out.

We hope that you can take some of these lessons and apply them in your organisations to help drive workforce diversity as well.

Addressing four key challenges

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