Announcement details

Jacobs Recognized as Employer of Choice for Workplace Gender Equality


As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Jacobs is proud to share it has been recognized as a leader in promoting gender equality in the workplace in the annual Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) list of Employers of Choice for Gender Equality.

The citation recognizes employers that demonstrate an active commitment and best practice to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces.

“We at Jacobs are very proud to be recognized for a third consecutive year as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality,” said Jacobs Senior Vice President Patrick Hill. “While we have made genuine progress with issues like pay equity and accessing the untapped leadership potential of our women, we also feel a high degree of accountability and expectation with what we have yet to achieve. We will maintain this as a priority in order to achieve the organizational and societal changes that allow everyone to access their full potential.”

“I congratulate all the 2017-18 citation holders for their commitment to and recognition of the many benefits improved gender equality can bring to their businesses,” said WGEA Director Libby Lyons. “These employers are setting the benchmark and the pace for other Australian workplaces to follow.”

To achieve the citation, organizations must demonstrate how they are addressing benchmarks for gender equality across areas such as leadership, learning and development, parental leave policies, flexible working and other actions that improve gender equality outcomes.

Jacobs has focused on driving culture change, building strong connections through employee networks and putting programs in place to facilitate the business becoming an employer of choice. The accolade reflects Jacobs’ ongoing commitment and effort to workplace gender equality and inclusion through workplace flexibility, pay equity and implementing targets to support the equal advancement of men and women into leadership positions. In the past year, Jacobs has also participated in a Consult Australia pilot Sponsorship program aimed at accelerating women into senior leadership roles.

Driving culture change through programs and initiatives
Jacobs is involved in several initiatives that help drive change in the industry more broadly. Recently, Patrick has been appointed as the Chair of Consult Australia’s Male Champions of Change. He is also a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador, a member of the Roads Australia Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group and one of the key global executives supporting Jacobs’ Women’s Network.

Other recent initiatives introduced or piloted in Jacobs’ Australia and New Zealand business include:

-       Setting a five-year target for women in leadership by doubling our starting point of 14% to 28%. This is an important target given it is proportionally representative of the gender balance in our business and it also passes a tipping point of critical mass of women in leadership roles.

-       The introduction of the Flexibility Toolkit for Managers (effectively shifting the default line management position from “why?” to “why not?”).

-       Employee referral incentives.

-       Undertaking a full pay equity review with our annual remuneration review and prioritizing budget for any remedial actions required to address inequity in like-for-like roles.

-       Developing the ‘Sponsoring Women for Accelerated Success’ program pilot, alongside our Consult Australia Male Champion of Change peers AECOM and GHD. This program ensures that we are more informed to directly advocate on behalf of our emerging talented women at executive levels; and is helping to formalise our progression discussions about our pipeline of women.   

Building connections with Jacobs’ Women’s Network
Jacobs’ Women’s Network (JWN) promotes an inclusive culture where women and men can thrive and feel valued. The network has a vision that we together foster an inclusive environment where gender diversity and equality drive profitable growth. With over 5,000 members and more than 90 local chapters on six continents, the impact of the network can be felt throughout Jacobs. Its mission is to accelerate a cultural shift by empowering women and promoting gender equality. The network aims to balance out the representation of gender at all levels, influence recruitment, development, retention and promotion of qualified women and to champion women leaders.

JWN improves the company experience for all employees, by hosting local events and monthly global webinars on a variety of topics that aim to inspire and develop employees. JWN is also partnering with HR and local and corporate leadership to focus on areas such as parental leave policy, unconscious bias awareness and other initiatives.

“I would like to congratulate and thank all the women and men who every day strive for a more diverse and equal playing field at Jacobs,” said Co-chair of JWN Camilla Arnold. “From local managers, our sponsors and champions, to JWN leaders, your tremendous efforts are an inspiration and together we are setting a new standard in our industry where our diversity of thought will result in our future success.”

Employee groups such as JWN value the importance that diversity brings to the company and fuels Jacobs’ industry-leading position as one of the best places to work. People are the heart of our business and many employees thrive in our inclusive culture. For instance, Jacobs Senior Vice President Valerie Roberts was just inducted into Arizona State University’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment Academy of Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. Inductees exemplify the values and traditions of ASU and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering through significant research, professional achievements, or community service. Roberts received a bachelor of science in construction engineering from ASU’s School of Construction in 1987.

“The school has a phenomenal research program that’s gone from a few hundred students to 1,800,” says Roberts. “When it comes to education, I’m really proud of where I came from, and I’m humbled by the honor.”  

On International Women’s Day and every day, we salute our diverse team of 74,000 people across the globe and their collective efforts to press for progress that make a positive difference in the lives of women around the world. Check out the advice from four bold women we talked with to find out how they got to where they are today.