Two wins at the 2015 National Women in Resources Awards night has highlighted Santos’ commitment to ongoing gender diversity and equality. After winning the South Australian Chamber of Mines & Energy (SACOME) State award for Exceptional Young Woman in South Australian Resources in August, Santos Senior Reservoir Engineer Helena Wu has gone on to win the National award in Perth held on 25 September. Santos continued its success with another award win on the night with first place in the category of Company Excellence in Diversity and Performance.
The recognition for the Company Excellence in Diversity Award comes following the introduction of the company’s Gender Equality Program, acknowledged by the industry for its forward thinking, and inclusive approach to encouraging equity in the workplace. “At the very core of our business is a culture of collaboration and we fundamentally believe that greater diversity in the workplace leads to enhanced organisational performance” said Chief Human Resources Officer at Santos, Ms Joanne Fox.
“The Santos Gender Equality Program is all about increasing female participation across our business and advocating for greater opportunities for women in oil and gas, and the industry more broadly. We achieve this with a broad range of activities that include flexible working, training and leadership development, gender-balanced graduate intakes, parental leave with superannuation "top up" for unpaid parental leave, pay equality and gender attraction strategies.” said Ms Fox.
The effectiveness of Santos’ increased focus on gender equality can be seen in an increase in female representation and retention at Santos. Women at Santos now make up 25% of the workforce (compared with 22% in 2011). Over the same time, there has been a 5% increase in the number of females working in technical roles (now 23%) and a 6% increase in women in senior roles (now 17%).
Most recently, Santos also recently implemented a new initiative to increase women’s participation in superannuation.
According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Australian women had on average a superannuation balance that was close to 50% lower when compared to males. This prompted Santos to seek an opportunity to close the superannuation gap for its employees by introducing the ‘Superannuation Top Up’ scheme.
“The numbers demonstrate that females in Australia will live longer and will retire with less; often missing out on employer based superannuation contributions while they take on the role of primary caretaker on the home front and return from parental leave on a part-time basis” said Ms Fox.
The initiative was implemented in March 2015, providing employees with employer paid superannuation contributions whilst on unpaid parental leave.
“The Superannuation Top Up initiative provides women and men the ability to grow their superannuation balance while on unpaid parental leave.
Above all, “Santos is developing these gender equality initiatives that work towards a more equal and rewarding workplace for all employees. Gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge. There are significant benefits for enabling all employees to achieve their full potential at Santos and elsewhere, and that is the basis for these activities.”