40:40 Vision Advances Australia’s Gender Balance

Over half of signatories of the 40:40 Vision initiative have achieved gender parity in their executive leadership teams (ELTs), a progress report has shown. Launched in 2020 by Australian superannuation fund HESTA, 40:40 Vision aims to achieve diversity by 2030 in executive roles in companies listed on the ASX300 – Australia’s stock market index. The term 40:40 stands for 40% identifying as women, 40% identifying as men, and 20% identifying as any gender. The report is the first of its kind, and coincides with the initiative’s interim target timeframe. According to all respondents to the survey – which included 25 signatory companies – diversity improves talent attraction, retention, and culture. More than 90% also said that diversity helped to deliver skillsets for future strategic needs, team performance, business results, and company reputation. “The results show that 51% of signatory companies have already achieved gender balance in their ELTs, compared to just 23% of the ASX300,” said Debby Blakey, CEO of HESTA. “Target-setting has proven to be an effective tool in advancing gender diversity, with companies focused on professional development, recruitment, and succession planning.” Over 80% of respondents have set gender targets for their ELTs, with most already achieving interim goals. Despite overall positive results, there remains much room for progress – particularly for female representation in ELTs, which only rose from 27% to 29% between 2022 and 2023. In addition, roughly 36% of all ASX300 companies are yet to set gender targets, which suggests that further engagement from corporate Australia is needed. “We encourage companies to seek appropriate collaboration opportunities, such as through industry bodies or diversity experts,” said Blakey.

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