New research from recruitment and HR specialist, Randstad, places New Zealand near the bottom of the table of 33 countries when it comes to believing there is gender equality in the workplace.
The Randstad Workmonitor survey encompasses Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas.
While 78 percent of Kiwis surveyed agreed that both sexes are treated equally, this is down on the global average which stands at 81 percent.
New Zealand is placed 27th (of 33 countries) on the table, compared to our Australian neighbours who are much more bullish in the belief that gender equality does exist in the workplace. By comparison, Australia sits at 8th place on the table.
When it comes to believing that gender equality increases with the seniority of the job, New Zealanders hold even stronger opinions.
Less than half of Kiwis surveyed (46 percent) believed this to be the case and sit at 32nd place on the table. The only other country below New Zealand is Denmark.
Country manager of Randstad New Zealand, Brien Keegan says the issue of gender bias has been widely canvassed in New Zealand.
“This research shows gender inequality is a significant issue in the minds of the workforce and that we are lagging behind the rest of the world in this area,” he says in a statement.
“If our workforce believes there is major gender bias at senior levels, women may be more inclined to pursue their careers overseas. As a country we do not want to miss out on a major pool of leadership talent.”
Less than a quarter (23 percent) of Kiwis surveyed believe that it’s a good thing to have one gender favoured above another in order to meet the diversity target.
“Kiwis like a level playing field, but at the moment the field has a lot of potholes.”
Keegan says while there are gender equality initiatives underway across the country, such as those of the Institute of Directors, it’s to the benefit of every company to think about career pathways and succession planning and support for women in particular.
“The research also shows that only 22 percent of Kiwis actually prefer to work in a team with mainly people of the same gender as themselves,” he says.
“The New Zealand workforce embraces diversity and this is really beneficial to an organisation, as it enhances organisational thinking and outcomes. New Zealand employers would do well to ensure they are tapping into both halves of the talent pool and have the right support mechanisms in place to support career progression for women and men.”