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AECOMs practical, constructive, disruptive actions forge change

AECOM's practical, constructive, disruptive actions forge change

 May 03, 2022

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AECOM is an inclusive company dedicated to forging change as a member of the Champions of Change Coalition.

The coalition is a globally recognised, innovative strategy for achieving gender equality, advancing more and diverse women in leadership and building respectful and inclusive workplaces. In the strategy, men of power and influence step up beside women leaders. They form a high profile Coalition to lead and be accountable for change on gender equality issues in their organisations and communities – be they local, national or global. Members cover every major sector of the economy and include representatives from business, government, community, academic and not-for-profit organisations.

According to the coalition, the strategy engages its members as ‘champions’ and publicly commit to leading practical, constructive and disruptive actions to accelerate change. Members recognise that gender inequality is a business, economic, social and human rights issue. The work of the Coalition focuses on shifting the systems of gender inequality in the workplace. It is backed by a proven methodology for increasing the representation of women in organisations and developing the conditions and cultures that enable them to thrive.

Stepping up as a leader

AECOM is among seven firms awarded the Workplace Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice citation and is referenced in the Champions of Change progress report by Consult Australia. 

Creating accountability

In Australia, AECOM is recognized for embedding formal accountability measures and for tying key performance indicators (KPIs) and remuneration to gender representation goals.

Disrupting the status quo 

They refreshed their sexual harassment strategy, providing additional online training for all staff and targeted training for managers.

Leaders in the coalition amplify messages of zero tolerance, offer additional support to anyone reporting incidents of sexual harassment, and make external investigations available for any incident.

Actions and impact

Driving gender equality in the workplace, AECOM increased its women hires from approximately 30% to nearly 40%. The company achieved this by modifying the hiring process so all requisitions go to open market and all referrals to open recruitment. Previously, one in four roles were not hired through an open process which resulted in a significant proportion of male hires. The Progress Report highlights that AECOM  has over 20% women at Director level and above. “This is, in part, attributed to implementation of an emerging female leaders’ sponsorship program,” it cited.

AECOM is working towards gender balance in leadership, recruitment, graduates, promotions and exits.

Dismantling barriers for carers

The report cites that AECOM is one of three companies that removed eligibility periods to access employer funded paid parental leave.

Building stronger family relationships 

Addressing AECOM's progressive paternity leave benefits, Principal Engineer, Traffic, Anoop Sridhar, said, “Raising my kids is a responsibility I shoulder equally – it comes with the perks of all the fun times including being there for all the ‘firsts’. It’s also only fair that my wife has the opportunity to progress in her career, especially since this is the second time she has had to take a break."

"Telling friends and family that I am in the midst of 12 weeks’ parental leave is met with gasps and questions. Paid?! As a father?!” he explains.

AECOM Principal Engineer, Transport & Advisory Team, Ronnie Paulus, says “The privilege provides me the opportunity to build a stronger relationship with my daughter, to support my partner’s transition back to work, and an appreciation of the emotions, challenges and priceless moments encountered as a full-time parent. I would strongly recommend that those offered shared leave to grasp it wholeheartedly.”

Fostering safe, respectful and inclusive workplace cultures

AECOM ANZ CEO, Richard Barrett, discusses the role of power dynamics in sexual harassment and the need for more women in senior leadership to disrupt it.

“In scrutinising our talent processes to determine where bias might impact hiring, we learned: in ‘sole source’ offers, often based on referrals, 100% of hires were men; where we used a formal open process, 41% of hires were women; where we had at least one female candidate, female hires increased to 47%; where a recruitment agency was engaged, female hires dropped to 23%. Today, all our hiring goes through an open process, we continue to use diverse hiring panels and we’re working with our recruitment agencies to ensure they’re across our diversity strategy and goals.”

The Champions of Change Coalition recognizes Implementation Leaders who support and advise each Champion of Change and Convenor with their expertise and drive for gender equality, with AECOM's Lisa Cronk, Global ED&I Program Manager, cited for her support and leadership.  

AECOM works hard to be an inclusive employer 

Want to work in a company that actively champions and supports women in the workplace?

AECOM values its employees, so search their latest career opportunities and apply today. 


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