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Why we’re passionate about gender equality

Telstra Careers Community

Posted on January 29, 2018

4 min read

We believe having diversity in our workplace fosters greater innovation, better customer connection and increased morale.

That is why we’ve created an environment that’s inclusive and supportive for all of the 32,000 people who work here.

We had a chat with our Global Head of Learning and Development, Lynne Barry, to find out how Telstra is ensuring gender equality in our workforce.

Can you talk us through why gender equality is a challenge for the tech industry?

While the vast majority of the technology industry’s biggest employers have gender equality policies in place; parity remains a challenge for every organisation. Even as more women join the industry, day-to-day we face an imbalance in the talent pool.

At Telstra, women often form only 30 per cent of candidates for roles, and this can sink as low as 20 per cent for roles with a strong technical focus. In these scenarios, it’s tough for recruiters to facilitate parity. The next conundrum, we face, is that once women are in a recruitment pipeline, there can be an unconscious inclination for hiring managers to look for talent who are just like themselves.

It’s a cultural issue that we can address through awareness but also through policy intervention, when required.

How have you seen the work environment change for women in the past five years?

I’ve definitely seen a shift. Today, there is a more open conversation around the gender equality challenges within the industry. Tech companies are increasingly saying the impetus falls on them to address the gender gap and developing targeted initiatives to tackle the imbalance head-on.

Opportunities are growing too; technology talent is more heavily demanded as organisations begin to focus on digitisation. To meet their need for digital talent, companies are thinking about non-financial rewards that can set themselves apart from other employers, such as flexible working arrangements and offering defined career pathways. I believe the biggest certainty for women today is that there are more opportunities at their fingertips than ever before.

Lynne has publicly spoken about the benefits of workplace diversity in the past
Lynne has often spoken publicly about workplace diversity and its benefits

Do you have a view on women taking ownership of their own career? 

Today, I often speak to young women who have a career plan from early on and are ready to have conversations about their career development; this attitude is to be commended. It’s important that we encourage women to think carefully about how they can cultivate their strengths in order to reach their career goals.

Whether this is volunteering for difficult projects or accepting leadership roles when they’re offered – I implore women to have the confidence to say yes. While having get-up-and-go is important, we can’t let the onus fall onto women; businesses need to make sure feel women feel empowered to ask for the next role and take risks along the way. It requires a culture-led approach, and we must all play a part.

How is Telstra ensuring women feel supported in the workplace? 

For us, diversity is about adopting a holistic approach. We recently introduced a recruitment requirement that women make up at least 50 per cent of recruitment and interview shortlists. We also actively promote ‘All Roles Flex’, allowing employees to determine how, where and when they work.

Through this approach we’ve been able to support men and women to adjust their working life at different periods. This can be as simple as supporting parental, social or sporting responsibilities; or more formal, such as transition to part-time.

We’re always exploring new ways of creating an inclusive culture that allows women and men to achieve their full potential.

What is the feedback you get from Telstra people about our diversity culture?

The feedback we are hearing is that the involvement of our senior leadership team really brings our diversity initiatives to life. Women don’t just want to hear from HR about progressive policies; they want to hear about our commitment to diversity from the senior leaders too – either through them raising the profile internally or championing industry-wide change. It’s about having influential industry figures elevate the conversation – and this breaks down a lot of barriers.

Learn more about what diversity means to us here at Telstra.

One small step for LGBT, one giant leap for equality

Telstra Careers Community

Posted on December 7, 2017

6 min read

I do.

For centuries these two words have sealed the union of ‘a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others’.  The people of Australia voted in favour of making the Marriage Act more inclusive. Today, the House of Representatives affirmatively voted a bill into law that gives same-sex couples an equal right to marry.

This is a happy day for my family. I have three male cousins who are a similar age. Last year the eldest two married the women they loved. Their weddings were joyful occasions filled with laughter, heartfelt words and happy tears. My youngest cousin was his brother’s best man, as they stood side-by-side their resemblance was striking. They have the same colour hair and eyes, the same long legs and the same kind hearts but they didn’t have the same rights. As a gay man, the younger brother knew that he might never have a wedding, or a marriage, of his own.

That has changed.

As an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace, Telstra has supported the campaign for marriage equality.

We’re working towards a range of other inclusion goals; greater workplace gender diversity, accessibility and inclusion, economic opportunity for Indigenous Australians and support for victims of family violence; to name a few.

Now that the Marriage Equality campaign is over and the dream of being married in Australia is a reality, we’ve asked some of our people how they’re feeling and what their hopes are for the future.

Here’s what they had to say:

 

It opens the door, finally, for people to fell at ease in their own skin, be who they are, and love who they love - openly, and proudly

Elana at the Midsumma Carnival in Melbourne, Content Producer

It sounds dramatic, but it truly is a momentous event in Australian history hearing that the bill has passed through parliament. For many, it’s much more than a change in wording in the Marriage Act. It’s a mark of acceptance and support, because it’s confirmation that the majority of Australians – including our friends, neighbours and colleagues – believe that same-sex couples should have the same legal rights as their heterosexual counterparts. And so it opens the door, finally, for people to feel at ease in their own skin, be who they are, and love who they love – openly, and proudly.

I can honestly say that I felt at ease going to work throughout this period, because while a diverse range of views are held, there were support mechanisms in place should I require them. Community support through our organisation’s LGBTI+ network Spectrum granted the ability to share views and concerns in an understanding environment. And for when the vote was read, “safe meeting spaces” were arranged and counselling support made available for individuals who wanted to hear the news in a supportive setting. Now that’s an organisation that shows support for its people!

 

I'm proud to work for Telstra who openly supports Marriage Equality and provides a safe place where everyone is able to be themselves without fear of judgement

Dan and his fiancé Justin, Business Channel Specialist

If I were to sum up my feelings on the outcome in one word I’d say, emotionally joyful! OK, that’s two words…

My fiancé Justin and I started organising our wedding a year ago and were quietly confident that marriage equality would be legal before our wedding day in June 2018. To see this actually happening, before our big day, has been an emotional rollercoaster. From tears of happiness, excitement, and then stress to getting the rest of the wedding planning sorted! Thank goodness Justin is the most organised person I know.

I have had so many family members calling and messaging me, sharing their love and excitement from the announcement of the postal vote through to it passing in the Senate!

It was fantastic to have Telstra actively supporting us to take time out of our days to gather together to share and celebrate the postal vote announcement. Now that we’re moving through with the Senate passing the bill and onto the House of Representatives, I have heard so much positive chatter around the office from people from all walks of life. WHOOPS of joy at each announcement of a step forward through to sharing their own personal reasons why passing this bill is so important to them. This makes me so proud to work for Telstra who openly supports Marriage Equality and provides a safe place where we can have these discussions and everyone is able to be themselves without fear of judgement.

 

I've leaned into the support provided by Telstra's LGBT+ network Spectrum. With more than 2,000 members in our enterprise social network, I've enjoyed the sense of community we share in that safe place

Sarah, Senior Operations Specialist

After the initial elation of the ‘Yes’ outcome from the postal survey, I feel a profound sense of relief after the marriage equality legislation finally passed through parliament. For LGBT+ Australians, the strong ‘Yes’ from the nation and subsequent legislation is such a welcome sign of love and acceptance. It’s been a particularly important message for the younger members of our community. For me, the legislation means my partner and I can consider, and pursue, the legal safeguards that marriage offers to a relationship, after more than two decades together.

Since the postal survey was announced, I’ve leaned into the support provided by Telstra’s LGBT+ network Spectrum. With more than 2,000 members in our active enterprise social network, Yammer, and I’ve enjoyed the sense of community we share in that safe place.

With my manager’s support, I’ve also assumed the role of Spectrum Council member, joining a small group of the network’s representatives across Telstra. As a result, I’ve been a part of coordinating and joining a number of local activities and catch ups, and have really benefitted from the opportunity to become more involved in the network during such a tough time for LGBT+ Australians.

 

I am proud to work for a company that not just talks but acts on a higher-purpose to create a better society

Nick, Director of Global Customer and Sales Operations

As an Australian and as someone who identifies as LGBT+ it was a huge moment. We have seen many other countries taking this step and it never felt great it was taking so long to get to this point in Australia. But we have, and I am immensely proud how the community has so publicly supported the LGBT+ community in this debate. You don’t have to go too far back in time to appreciate how far we have come in terms of equality.

One of the great things about working at Telstra is the support system that we have for each other, and you really felt this during the postal vote campaign. The frequent messages from our CEO, Andy Penn, and the Senior Leadership Team that encouraged open and honest discussion brought to life our values. Personally, I was really buoyed by the support I had from my colleagues and the level of interest they had in the survey. It was terrific to see the conversations on Yammer and the availability of support via work/life coaching for our people that may have needed to talk to someone. I am proud to work for a company that not just talks but acts on a higher-purpose to create a better society.

How I’m helping to drive diversity and inclusion in Telstra

Telstra Careers Inspiration

Posted on November 13, 2017

4 min read

Explore where a career at Telstra can take you. If you’re curious to learn more about graduate and student opportunities at Telstra, you’re already in the right place.

Despite having joined our Graduate Program in Asia less than a year ago, Winkie Su earned a Telstra Country Managing Director Team Award in recognition of her efforts in driving Diversity & Inclusion.

Today, she is part of the International HR team based in Hong Kong and we sat down with her to learn from her experience and for her to share her Telstra journey so far:

Question Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your role at Telstra so far?

A: I was born and bred in Hong Kong but moved to Australia eight years ago to study. Towards the end of my degree, I sought a career that would enable me to build on my multicultural background while enhancing my skills and capabilities. Having spent years in Australia, I was no stranger to Telstra, but what really attracted me to the company was its international aspirations.

By that time Telstra rolled out its first ever International Graduate Program and I felt it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I think it was the ideal way to start my career and I was excited to be part of this international organisation.

 

Question: Diversity and inclusion is important in how Telstra grows as a business. Why do you think this is important?

A: One initiative that I appreciate is “all-role-flex which means we can alter our working hours or even in some instances work from home! For example, I‘m doing a course every Monday after work, so I work in another office on those days as it’s much closer to my education institute.

Also, since joining Telstra, I‘ve seen so many meaningful initiatives across the international business, such as International Women’s day, White Ribbon Day, Brilliant Connected Women events and PinkDot Day.

PinkDot is an annual event that celebrates diversity with good food and music. Our booth caught people’s attention because we asked the crowd to write love messages on a small balloon, which we then tied onto our stands.

At the end of the day our booth became very colorful. I enjoyed the day a lot as it was very meaningful and fun, and I look forward to volunteering again during the next PinkDot Day with Telstra!

 

Question: How does Diversity and Inclusion benefit you and support your growth at Telstra?

A: Traditionally in the telecommunications and technology industry, there are more male workers than females. However, Telstra is a company that welcomes and encourages talented females to join the industry. I‘m so proud that 62% of the 2016 international graduates are female and I’m one of them!

We’re also looking to change the perception that technology jobs are only for men by supporting initiatives like the “Girls Go Tech” program through the Telstra Foundation Hong Kong. I participated at the first workshop which was about building an auto-plant pot through programming.

In the workshop, I saw some girls who weren’t as enthusiastic as others, some even found it too hard and stopped trying. However this changed when we asked them to form groups and broke the challenge down into simpler tasks. At the end, all the girls worked together to complete the tasks and presented their final design with glowing positive feedback! It’s amazing that I have the chance to encourage more young ladies to step into the world of technology.

 

Question: What role are you playing in contributing to Diversity and Inclusion at Telstra?

A: As part of my first rotation in the Employment Relations global function, my involvement with the Global Parental Leave project has been particularly exciting because it not only reflects Telstra’s diversity and inclusion focus, but also makes a difference to new families – which I find very meaningful. My manager is also very supportive of my involvement with other volunteering opportunities.

In 2016, I received a Country Managing Director Quarterly Award as part of the team representing Telstra in the PinkDot event in Hong Kong. I asked myself what more I could do and it has driven me to volunteer for an internal video campaign which aims to promote and raise awareness of gender diversity by interviewing business leaders and other employees about their experiences.

 

Question: So what are you going to be working on next?

A: In the next few months, I’ll move on to my next rotation in Country HR where I‘ll have more exposure to Telstra’s diverse culture. I’m looking forward to supporting Telstra’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives directly, and supporting the development of local talent in the business.

Personally, I’m interested in how businesses leverage diversity in their strategy, and I am hoping that through my new role, I can gain more exposure and knowledge around nurturing local talent and gender equality.

Indigenous Digital Excellence is everywhere, you just have to look

Tech4Good

Posted on October 4, 2017

4 min read

There’s no denying technological and digital innovations have transformed the global economy and the way people live their lives in communities across Australia.

But what happens when digital technology is embraced by the world’s oldest living culture?

On Friday night over 300 people gathered on Gadigal land at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Sydney for the inaugural National Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) Awards.

The first of their kind in Australia, the awards shine a light on the intersection of digital technology and the world’s oldest living culture, and showcase the digital excellence and innovation that is happening right now, across our nation.

From robotics, 3D printing, using drones to capture imagery of country, to coding and developing apps to preserve language and culture for future generations, IDX is happening everywhere. It’s just a matter of looking for it.

The centerpiece of the IDX Initiative, the partnership between the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and Telstra Foundation, the awards celebrate some of our brightest minds and forward-thinking entrepreneurs. The Telstra Foundation hosted several tables at the event and we were joined by luminaries from Indigenous culture, the media and the arts as we celebrated Indigenous innovation and ingenuity.

Under big lights and on the black carpet, 14 finalists from across Australia were recognised for their work in the innovation space, and Indigenous app developers, digital designers, entrepreneurs, online educators and virtual reality artists were selected as winners across seven award categories.

Let me introduce you to the 2017 National IDX Award winners.

Learnings and Education Award recipient Wayne Denning is a Birra Gubba man from Blackwater, Central Queensland and the owner and managing director of Carbon Media. Wayne conceived the STEM.I.AM program, designed to promote the study of STEM with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth around Australia.

Culture and Country Award recipient Victor Steffenson is based in North Queensland and the creator of the Living Knowledge Place, a community driven education site. Developed in collaboration with Elders from across Australia, the site addresses the need to make traditional and cultural knowledge practices accessible to the next generation by using modern technology.

Head to the centre of Australia where NT, SA and WA intersect and you will meet the women that form the NPY Women’s Council, and recipients of the Wellbeing Award. The women have developed a customisable language dictionary app that enables communication by providing words in Pitjatjantjara and Ngaanyatjarra and English translations to create a shared understanding of the language used to talk about feelings to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their people.

In Darwin, Young Innovator of the Year Brooke Ottley works as a digital designer. A Gunggari, Wuthathi and Torres Strait Islander woman, Brooke is a talented graphic designer who after almost 10 years’ in her field and a study tour in New York, has become Darwin’s most popular Airbnb host, hosting over 380 travellers in her own home.

Keep heading North, off the coast of Arnhem Land, NT and you will reach Galiwinku, Elcho Island and the home of Digital Elder of the Year Ernest Gondarra. Ernest learnt how to use a computer for the first time only in the last few years through the Arnhem Land Progress Association’s (ALPA) Plastic Fantastic program. Plastic Fantastic is an innovative recycling program that allows Elders and young people to learn skills in technology, while sharing the importance of caring for country. Ernest has used his new found skills in design and 3D printing, to create culturally significant objects for the Gatjirrk Cultural Festival.

In Sydney, Luke Briscoe, a proud Kuku-Yalanji man from Far North Queensland is the recipient of the Pathways and Employment Award. Luke founded the Indigenous owned and operated business INDIGI LAB to create innovative projects for social and environmental change through digital culture. Luke’s goal is to establish national Indigenous ethical guidelines in science and digital technology to support a better understanding, value and respect for Indigenous knowledge in these fields.

Finally head to Queensland’s capital and meet Dean Foley, this year’s recipient of the Entrepreneurship Award. A young Kamilaroi man from Brisbane, Dean is the founder of Australia’s first Indigenous Start-up Weekend and Bayaramal, Australia’s first Indigenous run accelerator for Indigenous businesses. The start-up event and incubator offer a platform for Indigenous entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and skills, to learn and develop businesses that benefit them and their community.

The Telstra Foundation has committed $5 million over five years to the national IDX initiative, a partnership with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. This initiative supports Indigenous participation in the digital landscape and assists young Indigenous people to build careers in STEM – science, technology, engineering, maths – and arts.

Supporting equality, equally and respectfully

Telstra News

Posted on September 18, 2017

4 min read

There are many different views on marriage equality among our millions of customers, our shareholders and in the Australian community more broadly.

And when it comes to our 32,000 employees, the range of views is just as diverse.

As our CEO Andy Penn said last week in his blog an easy decision in a difficult debate, as a supporter of marriage equality, the focus for us as an employer during the Marriage Law Postal Voting period, is upholding our long-standing commitment to inclusion and equality.

As part of our YES vote position, we are committed to fostering – and just as importantly facilitating – open and respectful discussions across our large and diverse workforce.

As business leaders, we care deeply about the community of which we are a part and the employees we represent, and so our approach to supporting our people through the voting period is grounded in the following principles:

Respect and consideration

Appreciating differences is vital in maintaining respect towards each other in our conversations on this topic, in line with our values ‘better together’ and ‘show you care’.

Through our employee networks including our Spectrum Committee for LGBT+ inclusion, we are providing open channels and opportunities for advice, support, information and engagement. And it’s around these issues that ignite personal passion in our people that our internal social network Yammer really comes to life.

With one of the largest Yammer workforces using Yammer in the Asia Pacific region, the topic of marriage equality is the single most discussed topic across our nine year history using this social platform.  Yammer is the voice of our people and as a company, we are committed to fostering open conversations in a way that ensures everyone can have their say, and be heard respectfully.

By creating an environment where all opinions are valued, our people are can find the courage to challenge themselves and others, to respect what everyone has to offer.

We are all part of a team

Our purpose – to create a brilliant connected future for everyone – rallies everyone to something that is bigger than the individual. It unites us as one, and ensures we’re all moving in the same direction irrespective of the differences among us- differences we seek to include, celebrate and of which we help our people feel proud.

During this time we will also support and equip our people leaders to hold team conversations if they wish to or if their teams desire them to, whether or not they align to Telstra’s position.

A key part is reminding our people that our confidential Employee Assistance Program is available to all employees, at any time.  Acknowledging that the strong and differing views about this issue can make it an uncomfortable topic for some people – the program offers a holistic range of support and resources to assist our people in managing their wellbeing both inside and outside of work.

Encouraging everyone to have their say

In addition to encouraging respectful discussion and equipping our people to have courageous and comfortable conversations at work, we can play a role to encourage everyone to have their say where it really counts – by lodging a postal vote.

As a large Australian employer, during the postal voting period we need to be inspiring our people to work together. We stand for inclusion, diversity and equality and our role is to support and be respectful that there are many views in this debate. What we can be proud of during this time is that Telstra is a company committed to diversity, inclusion and to creating a brilliant connected future ahead for everyone. And we mean everyone.

Telstra Corporation Limited
Melbourne

Authorised by: Alex Badenoch

The Commonwealth Government has passed laws to promote a respectful public debate on the marriage law survey. These laws apply to any public statement we make as a company about the survey, and require Telstra to authorise and attribute all communication about the survey. These laws apply from now until the publication of the survey results on 15 November 2017.