JB Hi-Fi says despite efforts to include more female staff, some areas are still male-dominated.
Consumer electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi has admitted it is struggling to achieve its gender diversity targets because male employees, particularly in regional areas and senior management ranks, are not moving on.
In 2014, about 39 per cent of JB Hi-Fi’s employees were women, but women accounted for just 4 per cent of its senior management and executive team (1 of 23), compared with 5 per cent in 2013 and 9.5 per cent in 2012.
Only 21 per cent of commissioned sales staff and only 10 per cent of store managers were women and the company had no female store managers in regional areas.
The JB Hi-Fi board set measurable objectives in relation to gender diversity in March 2012 and adopted a strategy to achieve these objectives.
This strategy included developing systems to enable regular reporting and assessment of progress towards gender diversity objectives,a detailed review of employee pay to consider whether any gender based disparity existed, further development of part time and flexible work practices, with specific focus on return to work from maternity leave.
JB Hi-Fi also tried to appoint women into roles traditionally filled by male staff, such as car sound sales, hi-fi sales, inventory planners, buyers, and IT, and implemented a reorganisation of the managerial structure within stores.
However, two years down the track, JB Hi-Fi is struggling to achieve its targets and in some areas the proportion of women in senior roles has gone backwards.
“The board and the new chief executive recognise that the actions taken to date have not been as effective as intended in achieving the company’s gender diversity objectives,” JB Hi-Fi said on Monday in its annual accounts.
One of the problems faced by the group is the relatively low level of turnover in regional and senior management roles.
The vast majority of these positions are occupied by long-serving male employees.
“The existence of stable senior and regional management teams, in the context of a historically male-dominated consumer electronics industry, has posed challenges for achieving change in the short-term,” the company said.
“The board and management, led by the new CEO, are therefore undertaking a thorough review of these gender diversity objectives and revisiting the plans for achieving them,” the report said.