100 Mums in the news! Business Spectator – Lack of Diversity is holding business back

Article published in the Business Spectator October 2015.

While some directors are still haggling about just how many women to include on the boards of corporate Australia, others are getting on with setting goals and targets to guarantee their workplaces become more diverse.

“Holding onto old paradigms hasn’t been very valuable for businesses over the last century,” notes the chief executive of defence and engineering contractor Northrop Grumman in Australia, Ian Irving.

Irving has just returned from one of his frequent trips to Northrop’s base in Virginia in the US, where the company has become a champion of building a workforce that reflects the society in which it operates, and he is keen to bring those values into the still-young Australian business.

“For me, it was very stark in terms of how far ahead North America was in focusing on the opportunities that diversity provides,” Irving says in an interview.

“We’re missing out really as a nation because we haven’t tapped into all the available resources.”
Diversity has been occupying the minds of business leaders in the US, UK and Europe for many years and translated into programs that encourage a range of job candidates that reflect gender, cultural and sexual diversity at all levels of the business.

Northrop operates in the traditionally Anglo-male-dominated sector of national security and defence and Irving found the company here wasn’t getting access to female candidates through the normal recruiting channels.

Northrop operates in the traditionally Anglo-male-dominated sector of national security and defence and Irving found the company here wasn’t getting access to female candidates through the normal recruiting channels.

So he connected with an organisation called 100 Mums that acts as a database for highly skilled women looking to return to leadership and professional roles after a career break, and has found strong female candidates for “every single role” in the organisation including senior technical roles.

“Men are the partners of women that often share the frustrations of women trying to juggle their career and family life,” notes the founder of 100 Mums Janine Lay-Flurrie

To view the full article go to http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/10/26/industries/lack-diversity-holding-business-back