Women more successful in attaining top job

By Angela Dorizas

Women are not applying for senior management positions in local government despite having a higher success rate than male applicants, a McArthur study has found.

A review of 131 senior management recruitment campaigns found that only 17 per cent of applicants were women, but overall 23 per cent of women were successful in being appointed to the position. 

McArthur chief executive officer, Mathew McArthur, said the data revealed that although female applicants were more successful than their male colleagues, they were not putting themselves forward in any great numbers.

“Of the 131 senior management recruitment campaigns reviewed across all job families, more than four male applicants applied for a chief executive officer, director or manager position to every one female,” Mr McArthur said.

“Yet, nearly one in three women who were interviewed was successful in securing the role.”

The McArthur Gender Balance Report was conducted at the request of the Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) to assist in their efforts to improve the proportion of women working in the sector.

LGMA chief executive, John Ravlic, said the reasons why women were not applying for senior positions were unclear, adding that the McArthur review did not attribute under representation of women to the gender pay gap.

Mr Ravlic said women who were recruited to the top job were in fact “negotiating as hard as the men” in regards to salary.

LGMA national president Neil Hartley said councils needed to do more to support and encourage women to apply for senior level positions.

“With the predicted global economic recovery and impending baby-boomer retirements expected to create another round of intense competition for skilled workers, the local government sector will again face critical skilled shortages across its entire workforce,” Mr Hartley said.

“Women make up approximately 43 per cent of local government employees. By encouraging women to apply for senior management positions and supporting their capacity to thrive in those roles, we can help alleviate some of the issues created by the skill shortage epidemic.”

LGMA’s campaign for increased participation of women in the sector has gained Federal Government support.

At the recent launch of the Year of Women in Local Government, Minister for Local Government, Anthony Albanese, said it was critical for local government to reflect the communities they sought to represent.

“Today less than one-third of councillors are women,” Mr Albanese said.

“Less than 20 per cent of senior managers are women. Only seven per cent of CEOs are women.

“Yet women are probably over-represented among the people that need to access local government facilities and services.”

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