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WOMEN SPELL OUT EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT IN THE WORKPLACE

Surprising findings in the ‘top 10 priorities for women in the workplace’ survey by WORK180.

WORK180 is a jobs site with a difference. The only employers advertising on our site have been pre-screened to ensure they support gender equality in the workplace. Those who don’t meet the WORK180 criteria are assisted to improve.

Since launching WORK180, we’ve seen a lot of positive change, yet it’s time to take things up a notch.

First, we asked women what they looked for in an ideal employer and aligned these expectations to our criteria process. The next step was to communicate the results to our employers and give them the opportunity to improve themselves internally in response to women’s expectations.

Today, we are proud to share the results with you. A big thank you to everyone who added their voice to our survey and of course the WORK180 Endorsed Employers for Women, who are working hard on fast tracking gender equality in Australia.

Our community survey will remain open; this is our first release and is based on a sample size of 500 responses from Australian women. We’ve also introduced transparency across WORK180’s Endorsed Employers. Companies working with WORK180 now report on their progress via their profile pages, where women can assess each employer based on information such as amount of paid parental leave, focus on pay equity and flexible working arrangements, employee engagement scores plus much more. Majority of this information is not publicly listed elsewhere and forms a valuable tool for job seekers. ​​

Gender neutral parental leave policies attracted the highest proportion of consensus across all our respondents.

WORK180 has had a tremendous effect on promoting gender neutral parental leave policies. Organisations we have engaged with have increased the amount of paid parental leave weeks, included paid leave for secondary carers and changed the way they speak about parenthood. 86% of WORK180 Endorsed Employers have gender neutral parental leave policies in place.

Only 48% of Australian organisations (with over 100 employees) offer paid parental leave for primary carers.


Flexibility at work came in as another top priority for women. Yet, less than 50% of the non-public sector offer flexibility. At WORK180 you can find out the level of flexibility within an organisation by looking out for the Flex Able Certification. Congratulations to Aurecon, BP and Cbus, the first to become Flex Able certified.

Flexible work is not exclusively for mothers. Flexible work can be used by those with other caring commitments, health reasons, sporting interests, people looking for an alternative to retirement and those pursuing side projects. All of the WORK180 Endorsed Employers consider flexibility for each role advertised on WORK180, therefore women can feel comfortable to raise this at interview stage. In fact we encourage candidates to ask how the organisation supports flexibility at interview stage, as flexibility can mean different things to different people.

Our survey shows women in the workplace are eager to learn and advance. Women chose Leadership Programs as their top priority closely followed by Mentoring and Coaching. Despite flexibility often taking centre stage in discussions on supporting women’s careers, leadership training scored only 2% lower than flexible work arrangements, making this topic almost equally as important.


The base salary gender pay gap in Australia is 17.7% and the overall superannuation gap is 44.3 %. Few Australian employers contribute any superannuation payments whilst primary carers are on parental leave. Even less pay superannuation whilst primary carers are on unpaid parental leave. WORK180 is adamant to change this. As of now, we are asking employers to consider paying superannuation during the length of paid parental leave as a minimum requirement. So far, the following WORK180 Endorsed Employers are contributing to closing the gaping super gap; AustralianSuper, Bank of Queensland, BHP Billiton, Caltex, Cbus, CommBank, Origin, Thales and Unitywater.

Every year, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) releases a list of companies awarded the citation Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) along with administering the Pay Equity Ambassador Program. We’re proud to contribute to the growing list across both programs through our advocacy activities. 

*To become a Pay Equity Ambassador, an organisation must have undertaken a pay gap analysis of its workforce in the last two years, taken action on the results, and communicated their pay equity initiatives to their employees.


In Australia, women make up 9.2% of the ASX500 executive key management personnel and directors. When it comes to CEOs, that number is 2.4%. WORK180 Endorsed Employers have set targets coupled with strategies to raise female representation in leadership. 

Rounding out the top 10 were;

6. Purchased leave

7. Programs for parents returning to work after parental leave

8. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

9. Domestic & Family Violence policies

10. Private spaces for breastfeeding & expressing

The following comments were taken from the survey:

I think what's important is that the rise of women is not the exclusion of men. We need the whole of society to come along if this is going to stick. If the pendulum swings too far we've done it wrong. Most of these initiatives can be applied equally to all employees regardless of gender.

I do not have children and I find programs for women are 50% family focused and 50% leadership. Although I want to support colleagues I often feel an important part of the programs do not apply to me. I wish I had access to more skills and professional development opportunities, and time to dedicate to volunteering or pursue other personal goals (other than family) that would impact my work performance and creativity in a positive way.

I would like to see that men in the company are actively taking time for parenting.

Finding a role where you can walk in to a new role in a new organisation and work at a senior level but with flexible or PT conditions is nearly impossible. Any employer who opens their mind to this will uncover a rich pool of candidates who are looking for this arrangement (or job share).

The number of senior men and women working flexibly is really important as an indicator of gender equality in the workplace. Without this, the family-friendly policies that exist within the organisation are ineffective.

This concludes our first release of the WORK180 Community Survey. We will be updating this data on a regular basis- please follow this link to add your voice. Each survey participant will receive a free career progression resource.


These findings comprise of a sample size of 500 responses from women working with large and small Australian businesses, government and not-for-profit organisations. Industries included IT & Telecom (17%), Education & Training (16%), Mining, Oil & Gas (12%), Government, Defence, Emergency (7%) and HR & Recruitment (6%). Of the respondents, 37% were aged 26-35, 34% aged 36-45 and 7% aged 18-25.


About WORK180

WORK180 is an international jobs network that connects smart businesses with the very best female talent. We pre-screen every employer on our jobs board to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other criteria. We also take into account diversity initiatives focusing on age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The information we uncover is made public on our website, so that everyone knows what to expect from each employer before applying for a job. We continually review and evolve our pre-screening criteria to ensure workplaces are fair and equal for everyone.   

Read our story.