Health Care and Social Assistance is the fastest growing sector in Australia, yet to meet increasing demand for care, the workforce needs to triple by 2050. That is an enormous task.
The industry has always been extremely female-dominated – 80% of aged care workers and almost 90% of graduates are female – however with the slowdown in mining and manufacturing, the traditional gender-segregated workforce patterns of 'male' and 'female' work need to be urgently addressed.
Benetas is striving to achieve cultural change in its workplaces and create greater gender balance by challenging gender stereotypes. Traditionally it has been women with caring responsibilities who have sought flexible working options, but research shows this is changing. Increasingly, workplace flexibility is a key driver of employment decisions for men – especially younger fathers, male managers and men approaching retirement.
Actively promoting the benefits of flexible work to its male employees, Benetas highlights part-time, job-share and flexible opportunities in the jobs section of its website, and often features profiles of male care workers. Their case study on challenging male stereotypes within Health Care and Social Assistance dives deeper into their programs and initiatives.
As part of their focus on cultural change, men and women are encouraged to take up purchased leave arrangements which enable them to purchase an additional two or four weeks of annual leave each year. And, in 2015, Benetas introduced superannuation payments for all staff on paid parental leave to help ease the financial pressure of taking time out of the workforce for both women and men.
Benetas also offers eight weeks paid parental leave for primary carers and two weeks paid leave for secondary carers. Paid parental leave for secondary carers can also be staggered over three months to enable part-time work during the period and some new fathers have used this option to work part-time following the birth of their child. There have also been a number of men taking 12 months away from the workplace to be primary carer so their spouse can return to work.
As well as flexibility, Benetas has prioritised clear succession planning and promotion opportunities to retain more male employees.
> Download the Challenging male stereotypes case study below to find out more about Benetas' journey.