Gender balance

2021_GROUP_FEMALE REPRESENTATIONAt Wesfarmers, we believe gender balanced businesses, which cater to the different strengths, preferences and needs of different team members and customers enable us to deliver on our primary objective of providing satisfactory returns to shareholders. We strive for gender balance on any team, which means there is a minimum of 40 per cent females and 40 per cent males with the remaining 20 per cent being of any gender. The Wesfarmers Board will maintain a composition of no less than 30 per cent females. 

The Wesfarmers Board (excluding Executive Director Rob Scott) maintains female representation at 38 per cent women and will be in gender balance from 1 September 2021 following a recent Director appointment. The Wesfarmers Leadership Team (including Rob Scott) is balanced with 42 per cent women and 58 per cent men, as is the total Wesfarmers workforce of almost 114,000 as at 30 June 2021, made up of 57 per cent women and 43 per cent men. 

There is room to strengthen gender balance in senior executive positions, with men holding 65 per cent of senior executive roles. There is also room to improve the balance among management and professional roles where women continue to hold 37 per cent of positions and men hold 63 per cent. 

Wesfarmers supports its divisions to build a gender-balanced workforce by regularly discussing progress, connecting them with companies from other industries and providing access to expert thinking and research through memberships and forums. 

The Group Managing Director meets twice a year with each divisional Managing Director to discuss succession plans and the pipelines into leadership roles, including how divisions are successfully attracting, retaining and promoting current and future women leaders. During the 2020 calendar year, succession and talent processes were further strengthened with a focus on development planning and diversity. The Group also reviewed the evolving requirements and capabilities of future Managing Directors, including applying a diversity lens. In the most recent of these reviews (April 2021): 

  • 41 women (42 per cent of all nominees) were nominated as potential successors to divisional leadership team roles 
  • four women (31 per cent) were nominated as potential successors to divisional Managing Director roles. 

Within our divisions, talent reviews and people-planning sessions are conducted every six months. The consideration of gender balance is standard within these discussions, as well as action to sustain or move towards balance. 

Each of the Wesfarmers divisional Managing Directors has gender balance objectives incorporated into their performance objectives and each division has its own gender balance and inclusion plan. Progress on gender balance is reported monthly via human resources metrics reporting and more formally on an annual basis to the Group and Divisional Boards through diversity and inclusion reports. 

Wesfarmers invests in memberships with external research organisations, including the Diversity Council of Australia and Catalyst, which are experts in diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Wesfarmers shares internal practices as well as external thought leadership, best practices and world-class research from these organisations across the broader Wesfarmers Group through cross-divisional inclusion forums. Over the past year topics have included gender diversity, respect at work and flexible work. 

Group Managing Director Rob Scott continues to be part of the Champions of Change Coalition (CCC) (previously Male Champions of Change), which works with CEOs to redefine the role that men can play in taking action and supporting them to step up beside women and to provide leading expertise and practice to membership organisations. 

Wesfarmers is a signatory to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles. Wesfarmers’ support of the principles is consistent with its ongoing commitment to gender balance and is aligned to the work currently underway across the Group. 

Every year, Wesfarmers businesses lodge separate annual compliance reports with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). A copy of these reports can be obtained via the WGEA website. 


GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3, GRI 405-1, GRI 406-1