Antonia Watson, Chief Executive Officer, ANZ

by | Mar 9, 2022

This year’s IWD theme is #BreakTheBias – what have you found useful to break down conscious and unconscious bias in your organisation?

Breaking bias starts with creating awareness that bias exits.

For example, this year ANZ NZ will be reporting its gender pay gap for the first time. It’s not something we are required to do here in NZ yet – but we feel it’s a fundamental building block to addressing bias in the workplace.

We also have quite a few initiatives underway to support further participation by women and address gender bias.

Our Women in Leadership Program provides aspiring female employees an opportunity to engage with senior leaders, and our Return to Work program encourages women in our Technology division back into the workforce by removing barriers to return to work after a career break.

There’s also our graduate and intern programs – in which we had 42% female representation in 2021 – which are helping us grow our pipeline of female talent for the future, and we’ve teamed up with GirlBoss New Zealand to support a five-day leadership programme for young women.

We’ve also embarked on a major piece of research into women’s participation in NZ called Watch Women Win. It reveals that natural ability plays less of a factor in women achieving, whereas a strong support system, encouragement and hard work are the top three enablers for female success.

You’re going hear more about Watch Women Win in 2022. As New Zealand’s largest bank, and one of its largest employers, we intend to set an example and help create change for the next generation of New Zealanders.

What progress have you seen in the NZ infrastructure industry over the last year to increase diversity and inclusivity?

We’ve seen that The New Zealand Infrastructure industry is very much alive to the issues of diversity and inclusion. Like many sectors, Covid-19 has presented significant challenges in this space. Particularly the ongoing tight labour market, which makes it difficult to fill roles and this can narrow the options for many.

However, we know diversity and inclusion is a key focus for the sector and industry leaders will continue to look for opportunities to enhance this in the years to come.

What diversity and inclusion improvements would you like to see in the NZ infrastructure industry by this time next year?

Given the long term planning and investment required by many infrastructure assets those making key decisions around how we design and build infrastructure needs to reflect the needs of future generations.

It is particularly important younger generations are included in infrastructure conversations. We also need to leverage technology and data to help make better decisions around how we design, fund and build infrastructure assets.

How do you think we can attract more women to the NZ infrastructure sector?

This needs to start at the grass roots. We need to ensure our young women are being provided with the information they need to understand what career options are available to them and that they are welcome in the industry.

There are some excellent programmes encouraging girls to engage with STEM subjects at schools and our education system should continue to build on this.

Visibility of woman in the industry is also very important: the adage “if you see it, you can be it” is true.

How is your organisation celebrating IWD?

As I mentioned above, this year for the first time, ANZ NZ is publicly reporting our gender pay gap.

ANZ’s General Manager of Talent and Culture, Michelle Russell, will be hosting a panel of formidable women for perspectives on the causes and fixes behind this tricky issue – and gender equity in the workplace today.

We’ll also continue to our Watch Women Win campaign, including releasing a video of me talking to Olympian Emma Twigg about barriers she’s faced as a woman in sport.

You’ll see more of this campaign throughout the year highlighting the stories of successful and inspiring women.