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We strive to create an inclusive work environment, with particular attention to gender diversity and the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Wesfarmers strives to create a work environment which is inclusive of all people regardless of gender, age, race, disability, sexual orientation, cultural background, religion, family responsibilities or other areas of potential difference. All areas of diversity are important and Wesfarmers pays particular attention to gender diversity and the inclusion of Indigenous people.

Wesfarmers recognises the value that diversity can bring, which includes:

  • broadening the skills and experience of the pool from which Wesfarmers can draw and attract top talent to our businesses;
  • providing greater alignment to customer needs;
  • improving creativity and innovation; and
  • modelling responsible corporate citizenship.

Wesfarmers has developed and implemented a Diversity Policy that aims to foster diversity at all levels within the Group.

Gender diversity

While Wesfarmers’ workforce is made up of 55 per cent women and 45 per cent men (as at 30 June 2016), a key opportunity for the Group is to increase the percentage of leadership positions held by women. Women hold 44 per cent of salaried roles and 56 per cent of award or Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) roles.

"We have a focus from senior management down to getting more women into more senior roles because it's important for the long term sustainability and performance of the group." Richard Goyder, Managing Director

The Wesfarmers Diversity Policy outlines four core objectives which are used to measure performance in this area. The objectives are reviewed annually and are intended to remain relevant to the Group over a number of years. Specific progress targets are linked to senior executive key performance objectives under the annual incentive plan. Given the diversity of the Wesfarmers portfolio, each division has developed its own gender diversity plan in line with the Group policy, tailored to the specific circumstances of that division.

The four objectives and indications of progress achieved for all roles at manager level and above are outlined below:

Foster an inclusive culture: This objective seeks to leverage each individual's unique skills, background and perspectives.

Inclusion begins with practices designed to increase retention of leaders with significant responsibilities outside of work. Wesfarmers divisions are taking up this opportunity in a variety of ways, including increasing flexible work arrangements for both male and female managers and advertising new roles as being available on a flexible basis. Wesfarmers divisions are also enhancing paid parental leave benefits, keep-in-touch programs and on-site vacation childcare. In addition, Wesfarmers Group and the divisions conduct various forums and events to increase awareness, to create networks and to facilitate sharing of practices that increase inclusion for all team members. 

Of all roles, part-time employees account for 62 per cent of all permanent employees or 45 per cent of our total workforce.

We recognise the importance of increasing flexibility at senior levels for both males and females. Women currently hold 89 per cent of part-time role incumbents at a manager level or above.

Of all women in management roles who intended to return to work from parental leave, 85 per cent returned on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Improve talent management: This objective seeks to embed gender diversity initiatives into our broader talent management processes in order to support the development of all talent.

A focus on increasing representation of women in leadership is embedded in a variety of Group and divisional talent management practices including talent reviews, formal leader development (i.e. 360 assessment, programs, coaching, mentoring) and development of talent through stretch assignments. The Group Managing Director meets at least once annually with each division to formally review senior leader performance and development, succession plans for critical roles and the pipeline of high-potential leaders. Our criteria for assessing leadership capability and potential are based on behaviours and traits that are gender-neutral.

Over the past year, the overall number of women in manager or above roles increased from 29 per cent to 30 per cent. This increase was reflected across various levels of management, including leadership teams, senior manager and manager levels, with only the General Manager level experiencing a slight decline in the representation of women managers.

In this year's divisional talent reviews, women comprised 28 per cent of the divisional leadership team succession pipeline population, being roles that report directly to a divisional Managing Director (up from 21 per cent in 2015).

Enhance recruitment practices: This objective is a commitment to hiring the best person for the job, which requires consideration of a broad and diverse talent pool.

This year, 39 per cent of externally recruited positions and 35 per cent of internal promotions (all manager level and above roles) were filled by women. Across all roles, women and men were recruited evenly (49 per cent women, and 51 per cent males).

Ensure pay equity: This objective aims to ensure equal pay for equal work across our workforce. 

Since 2010, a Group review of gender pay equity has been conducted annually, with results reviewed by the Board and divisional Managing Directors. Over this period the company has aggressively moved to close any pay equity gaps. Wesfarmers has been able to close the pay gap at all managerial levels of the organisation to five per cent or less with the exception of the General Manager level which stands at 6.7 per cent. Although more work is required, the gap is predominately due to differences in pay across industries, location and the relative supply and demand for certain qualifications, as well as individual performance and experience.  

To further reduce gender pay gaps the divisions have implemented a range of actions, including: provision of gender pay equity adjustments as part of the annual remuneration review process; auditing remuneration policy guidelines and actions to ensure proper and fair application; consistent implementation of job evaluation methodologies; and ongoing market data comparisons.

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

Wesfarmers has become a signatory to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles. Our support of the principles is consistent with our ongoing commitment to gender diversity and aligned to the work we are currently doing across the Group. For more information click here.


Indigenous engagement

20.5 per cent increase in Indigenous employees

Wesfarmers produced its first public Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2009, with a focus on ‘Relationships’, ‘Respect’, and ‘Opportunities’. Our RAP is registered with Reconciliation Australia and is the overarching document for divisional Indigenous engagement strategies. Using the RAP as a guide our businesses identify and implement opportunities that best suit their operations.

Across the Group, we have made commitments to increasing our Indigenous cultural awareness; investing in partnerships supporting Indigenous education; increasing purchasing from Indigenous-owned businesses; and growing our Indigenous workforce.

This year, we made progress across all areas of our RAP, with the following highlights.

Wesfarmers leaders visit Alice Springs

Members of our executive team visited Alice Springs in June 2016 to further enhance our collective cultural awareness capabilities. The trip provided opportunities to explore Indigenous culture, history and engagement. Wesfarmers executives observed the challenges facing many Indigenous communities, as well the positive outcomes and opportunities our businesses can create through engaging and employing local Indigenous team members.

Indigenous employment 

As Australia’s largest private sector employer, we believe we are able to provide Indigenous people with greater opportunities to participate in sustainable employment, and it is the primary focus of our RAP. At 30 June 2016, Wesfarmers had 3,329 Indigenous team members, representing 1.7 per cent of Wesfarmers’ Australian workforce. This is a 20.5 per cent increase on the previous year.

Business Unit 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Coles 2,318 1,765 862 640 695
Bunnings 423 410 336 176 121
Kmart 333 278 279 270 105
Target 136 161 107 86 103
Officeworks 65 73 67 54 53
WesCEF 19 17 13 15 9
WIS 15 35 28 37 47
Resources 19 20 18 22 17
Corporate 1 3 1 2 2
Group total 3,329 2,762 1,711 1,302 1,152

Our businesses continue to offer full-time and school-based traineeship programs and our corporate office hosted an Indigenous cadetship during the year. This year, we transitioned from Jawun secondments to divisionally-driven volunteering opportunities with Indigenous organisations.

In January 2016 Wesfarmers established a partnership with Aboriginal development organisation Wunan Foundation to support the employment of Indigenous job seekers in Kununurra, Western Australia. As part of the partnership a dedicated Indigenous employment coordinator was hired to identify and support local Indigenous applicants into roles, with 13 Indigenous team members employed at Coles since the coordinator started. Wesfarmers also continues its support of an employment broker in Shepparton, Victoria, with partner The Kaiela Institute.

Indigenous community partnerships

Wesfarmers is committed to establishing community partnerships with organisations focused on Indigenous programs. We have supported the Clontarf Foundation since 2001, and in 2015 agreed to a new, three year partnership with an increased financial contribution to assist the Foundation’s national expansion. A number of our businesses are also engaged with Clontarf across Australia.

We continued to support Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, the Kaiela Institute and the Wunan Foundation. Wesfarmers also entered into a three year partnership with Reconciliation WA. Many divisions also have partnerships with organisations that support Indigenous communities, such as The Fred Hollows Foundation, Red Dust Role Models and The Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation

Indigenous procurement activities

As outlined in our RAP, we have committed to increasing our procurement from Indigenous suppliers. We are a member of Supply Nation. In May 2016, representatives from five of our businesses attended the Supply Nation Connect Aboriginal business conference. In the five years to 2015, Wesfarmers spent more than $22 million with Indigenous suppliers.

Our full RAP report and 2017 – 2019 RAP commitments can be found here.

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