It is a confronting statement but the evidence is stark, “women simply aren’t applying for the senior level roles in the same numbers as men” says Sharon Ardley, Davidson’s General Manager in Victoria for HR Consulting. ‘Interestingly, when they do, they have a significantly greater chance of getting the job.’

According to the latest gender workplace statistics compiled by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, women represent 15.4% of CEOs and 27.4% of key management positions in non-public businesses. Alarmingly, 25.1% of businesses that reported their gender statistics have no females in key management roles. All non-public sector businesses with 100+ employees are required to report.

In the public sector the data is only marginally better. Data from The State of the Public Sector in Victoria Report 2015-2016, reported 39% of executives in the public sector were women. At first glance this appears to be a good proportion, however, not when you take into account that 67% of the total Victorian public sector’s workforce are female. The numbers of females are there. They are just not progressing to executive levels.

For many women, putting themselves forward and backing their skills can be a key challenge for their career advancement. Women are not inherently wired to ‘self-promote’ says Ms Ardley. They need additional resources and encouragement to gain the confidence to succeed and step up.

To address the gender issues and equip women with the skills they need to excel, Ms Ardley and her team have developed the Davidson Leadership Acceleration Program (DLAP) to work with females at all levels to gain self-awareness and develop the mindset, skills and tools required to optimise leadership behaviour, achieve results and build transformational leadership.

The program is targeted at females in management and senior management who are looking to gain an insightful assessment of their capabilities and the confidence to take the next step in their leadership journey.

“We take a data led approach to analyse strengths and identify areas for development so participants come away from the program with an individual debrief of performance, development plan and personalised support” say Ms Ardley.

Through extensive work in the public sector, Davidson has identified a specific need in this area to work with females as they advance through their careers and into leadership roles.

“We also feel that it is important to shine a spotlight on exceptional female leaders who are in the Victorian Public Service, assisting them to progress their careers by highlighting their work and raising their profiles. To do this Davidson has launched the Top 50 Public Sector Women (Victoria) initiative. These women are role models for other females in the sector and play an active role in effecting change” Ms Ardley added.

Females in the Top 50 cohort will get the opportunity to receive one of six scholarship to the Davidson Leadership Acceleration Program. “We are exceptionally excited to offer these scholarships to six of the final Top 50 and make a significant contribution to their leadership development” said Ms Ardley.

For further information about the Top 50 Public Sector Women list or the Davidson Leadership Acceleration Program please contact Sharon Ardley, General Manager, HR Consulting (Vic).