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people development


People development

We provide opportunities for our people to enhance their job performance and develop their careers.

Wesfarmers businesses provide employment to approximately one in 60 working Australians or one in 17 working Australians under 20 years of age. 

We distribute $8.4 billion dollars which represents 61 per cent of the wealth we create in salaries, wages and benefits to our employees. 

The quality of our people is our greatest competitive advantage and providing them with opportunities to improve their performance and their careers is key to our success.


Our employees

We employ approximately 220,000 people globally, including more than 198,000 in Australia, making Wesfarmers Australia's largest private-sector employer. Of our people, approximately 73 per cent are employed on a permanent basis and 27 per cent are employed on a casual basis.

In addition to our employees, our divisions engage contractors in a range of roles. There are also seasonal variations in employment numbers, with a peak throughout the Christmas/summer period in line with the broader retail industry.

In the 12 months to 30 June 2016 we employed 50,607 new people across the Group in a range of permanent, part-time and casual roles. Over the same period we have had a net increase in our overall employee numbers of approximately 13,500 people. This increase is due to the acquisition in February 2016 of the Homebase business from the Home Retail Group.


Our voluntary turnover rate across the Group was 19 per cent.

Where headcount reductions are necessary, our divisions seek redeployment opportunities and where this is unsuccessful, they offer redundancy packages and outplacement services to affected employees.  We pay at least minimum wage in all locations in Australia as required by law and in no areas of operation does minimum wage vary by gender.



Training and development

Each division provides a wide range of training and development in job-specific technical aspects as well as generic skills, such as customer service, teamwork and leadership.undefined

Wesfarmers provides executive development and orientation to ensure leaders understand and are developed in the key elements of the Wesfarmers culture.

At least annually, the Group Managing Director meets with each division to review senior leader performance and development, succession plans for critical roles and the pipeline of high-potential leaders. Particular focus is placed on ensuring that this pipeline reflects the diversity of our workforce.

Workplace relations

More than 88 per cent of our workforce is covered by collective agreements. We recognise the right of those we employ to negotiate either individually or collectively, with or without the involvement of third parties. Collective agreements typically include provisions for notice periods and provisions for consultation and negotiation. We also believe in maximising the flexibility of workplace arrangements available to our employees and their managers.

This year, workplace relations at Coles received some public attention. The Store Team Agreement was overwhelmingly supported with more than 90 per cent of team members voting in favour of the Agreement in May 2015. Coles Supermarket team members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Coles Store Team Enterprise Agreement 2014-2017 and, in July 2015, that Agreement was approved by the Fair Work Commission. Subsequently, an appeal was lodged with the Commission by a team member, challenging the Commission's approval of the Agreement and in May 2016, the Full Bench of the Commission determined that the Agreement did not pass the Better Off Overall Test.

The majority of Coles team members are now covered by the predecessor 2011 Agreement, most meat team members are covered by the previous state-based agreements and a small number of team members (Coles Online Customer Service Agents) are covered by the General Retail Industry Award.

Despite this change, Coles honoured the wage increase that was scheduled under the 2014 Agreement in July and ensured that, while it considers the best way forward, Coles team members did not see any reduction in their base rate of pay.

In July 2016, an individual Coles team member filed an application to terminate the 2011 Agreement. This matter is currently before the Commission.


GRI Reference: G4-9, G4-10, G4-11, EN-27, G4-DMA (Market Presence), G4-EC5, G4-LA1, G4-LA4, G4-LA10, G4-DMA (Employment), G4-DMA (Labor/Management relations), G4-DMA (Training and education)