media release 


18 August 2022   


Improving gender diversity could give trailblazing Australian companies a competitive edge


Investor-led initiative 40:40 Vision warns companies with poor female representation in their leadership teams risk missing out on top talent and the potential long-term performance edge generated from improved gender diversity as trailblazing ASX 300 companies are already shifting from setting aspirational targets to taking action.


“What sets these trailblazing companies apart is they’re increasingly taking a whole-of-company approach,” 40:40 Vision Chair and HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said.


“They’re looking across talent management, recruitment and succession planning to create a coordinated approach that’s helping identify and accelerate talented women into leadership positions.


Underpinning these strategies is a focus at executive and board level on turning commitments into action. It’s this accountability to improving gender diversity that investors are increasingly seeing as an accurate indicator of a well-run company[1],” Ms Blakey said.


There is a growing body of evidence that improved gender diversity leads to stronger, more inclusive teams, better decision making and improved long-term company performance which can positively impact members’ financial investments.[2]


“By putting themselves in a position to achieve gender-balanced leadership teams before their competitors, these trailblazing companies potentially have a vital edge,” Ms Blakey said.


“They’re building a consistent pipeline of women ready to fulfil leadership roles of the future, while fostering more inclusive and flexible cultures that are setting them apart in a highly competitive jobs market.”


Ms Blakey said companies setting targets was a critical first step to help shift the under-representation of women in leadership. But targets must be more than just a: “set-and-forget mechanism”.


A new report from Chief Executive Women (CEW) and Bain & Company[3] showed leading companies were implementing a range of innovative initiatives from data-driven dashboards to focusing on strategies to improve overall company culture.


For example, Mirvac share detailed pay gap data with their leaders at critical points like just prior to remuneration reviews so corrections can be made before the next review is conducted. By staying close to such an important equity measure, Mirvac has impressively maintained a zero ‘like-for-like’ pay gap for six years.


Other companies are looking at how they can foster a more flexible culture that’s championed by senior leaders. The research[4] detailed how BHP recently created their first job-share position at the vice-president level, and QBE split a senior manager position into a job-share role.


HESTA founded 40:40 Vision in October 2020 as an investor-led initiative to boost gender balance in the executive ranks of ASX 300 companies, bringing into sharp focus the need for companies to support their workers through better diversity and inclusion.


40:40 Vision is supported by industry partners Chief Executive Women, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, 30% Club and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.


The initiative has seen strong support with 26 ASX 300 listed companies signed on including: Adairs, ANZ, Bega, BHP, Bluescope, Challenger, Domain, Domino’s, Healius, IDP Education, IGO, Iress, Jumbo, Mirvac, NextDC, Origin, Pendal, QBE, Ramsay Health, Southern Cross Austereo, SkyCity, South32, Tabcorp, Viva Energy, Webjet and Westpac.


For more information and to track progress visit






[1] Gender Equity Insights 2020: delivering the business outcomes

[2] Ibid.

[3] Take it from the top: Accelerating women’s representation in executive leadership

[4] Ibid.

Media contact:

Sam Riley

General Manager Media Relations

(03) 8660 1684


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