Coles is acknowledged as a Gender Equity Employer of Choice.
Today sees the beginning of a nationwide campaign to assist women in the workforce.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has recognised Coles Group as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) for its sustained efforts to advance gender equity.
Coles received recognition for its leadership, expanded learning and development opportunities, reduced gender pay gaps, promoted flexible working, avoided sex-based harassment and discrimination, and met goals for bettering gender equity outcomes.
The gold standard certification for companies dedicated to making positive, quantifiable changes in workplace gender equality practises is the WGEA designation as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality. According to research, companies with this designation improve on key gender equality metrics more quickly than other companies.
Director of WGEA, Mary Woolridge said: “Leading employers, like Coles, have stepped up to the plate by taking action to accelerate change for gender equality in the workplace.”
Importantly, EOCGE employers are implementing a strategy that leads to better support systems for working families, greater efforts to address pay disparities, and strategic hiring, promoting, and retention practises that promote the full involvement of women in the workforce.
Sally Fielke, general manager of corporate and indigenous affairs for the Coles Group and head of the Coles Gender Equity Steering Committee, said the business was honoured to be acknowledged for its development.
“Our goal of creating a strong, diverse, and inclusive community at Coles is based on gender equity. We’ve kept up the pressure for gender parity, setting goals for more women in leadership positions, and supporting a number of initiatives to keep the amazing women we already have in our company, according to Ms. Fielke. These initiatives include talent attraction programmes like RelauncHER, our accelerator programme for store managers.
“We’re committed to establishing a workplace where everyone feels valued and supported, so we continue to attract the best individuals to Coles.”
The announcement comes as national charity Fitted for Work today launches a fundraising drive to assist Australian women who are facing disadvantage in entering or returning to the workforce.
According to research, 99% of Australian women looking for employment do not believe they have enough money saved for the future, while 24% of women believe they only have enough money to meet their immediate needs.
For the next two weeks, Coles will donate 10 cents from the sale of each haircare, skincare, and cosmetic product in supermarkets across the country. The money raised will support Fitted for Work, an organisation that supports unemployed and underemployed Australian women through programmes like recruitment workshops, a personal outfitting service, distributing workwear parcels made of donated items, and post-employment mentorships.
Fitted for Work Managing Director Donna de Zwart said funds raised will help women across Australia to be fitted for work and fitted for life.
Women in Australia are currently under a lot of stress and are concerned about the future due to rising living expenses and pervasive housing stress, according to Ms. de Zwart.
In addition to assisting thousands of women in finding employment, Coles’ kind donations in March will also give them a feeling of purpose and a social network.
Over 40,000 women have received support from Fitted for Work since 2005. Compared to the national average of 17 months for women, Fitted for Work clients found work on average in 73 days.
“Ahead of International Women’s Day, it’s essential that we consider what we can all do to support the economic potential of women,” said Sally Fielke. We are aware of the critical role that organisations like Fitted for Work play in assisting women from all backgrounds in finding, keeping, and advancing effective careers.
By buying a haircare, skincare, or cosmetic item from any Coles supermarket during the campaign, we encourage our customers to support Fitted for Work.
Analysis of the Fitted for Work study
Fitted for Work conducted a survey of 258 current and past clients who used Fitted for Work services between July 2022 and January 2023 in the months leading up to International Women’s Day in 2023. 35% of respondents had been searching for a job for at least six months at the time of the survey.
Important conclusions from the study include:
Of women surveyed:
- 37% had other responsibilities that restricted them from working
- 62% struggle with their mental and/or physical health
- 23% feel discriminated against because of who they are
- 46% are returning to work after a gap in employment
- 33% are looking to make – or have recently made – a shift in careers
Of women surveyed who are currently looking for work:
- 99% do not feel they have enough money to save for their future
- 63% do not feel financially stable
- 24% feel they have just enough money to cover basic needs
- 72% feel anxious about their job search
- 30% do not feel connected with those around them.