17 BACK TO NAVIGATION 2018 AusLSA Member Performance The 2018-member results reinforced findings from our previous reports that a very high proportion of AusLSA members are taking a positive steps to improving gender equity in their workplaces. Ninety percent of respondents have a gender equity policy, which is unchanged from last year’s result, and remaining firms are implementing a Diversity and Inclusion policy which address many common issues. Although firms reported a high level of policy commitment, forty percent of firms choose not to make their gender equality policies public. This year all reporting firms had allocated key responsibility for overseeing the implementation of this policy to either a partner, manager or committee which increased from ninety-seven percent last year. There is strong evidence that leaders and leadership teams are taking greater public responsibility for their firm’s performance on pay equity with fifty-nine percent who had Managing Partners who were WGEA Pay Equity Ambassadors, up from forty-nine percent in 2016. Fifty-nine percent of AusLSA members are also WGEA Employers of Choice for Gender Equity. Gender ratios for female partners improved again this year increasing to thirty-three percent from thirty one percent in 2017 and twenty- six percent in 2016. This increase translates to eighty-two more female partners than male partners being promoted and in the last twelve months and 286 since 2016 (based on an estimate of partners at member firms). The proportion of female lawyers amongst AusLSA members also continues to rise and is now sixty percent of legal staff. These results for the legal profession remain stronger in comparison to similar professions such as the accounting services sector which also has an equal representation of women and men across their employee base but with fewer women appointed to senior management levels, with only seventeen percent in key management positions. Challenges and Opportunities The 2018 results show an improvement to the balance of women in partnership and that law firms still lead many other industries in Gender Equality. Female representation has grown to sixty percent of the legal staff, however they still only occupy thirty-three percent of partner positions. While this may be partially due to lags between the growth in female numbers and the building of required experience and seniority for promotion, there is little doubt historical imbalances in equality of opportunity are also a significant factor. If this disparity is mostly due to this historical legacy, and if the firm’s equity policies continue to be implemented and monitored we should see a continued improvement in these numbers over time. Law Council of Australia survey National Attrition and Reengagement Survey found a higher rate of attrition of women in law firms and highlighted the need to focus on a range of priority changes to address the causes including • Career path transformation • Leadership and role modelling • Relationships and support • Workplace safety • Transparency and measures of success. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency also addressed opportunities for change, teaming up with the Business Council of Australia and McKinsey & Company to research the Women in Leadership: Lessons from Australian companies leading the way. The report identifies the ten common features of leading organisations who are dismantling barriers to women’s participation at senior levels. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Female Non-Legal Staff Female Legal Staff Female Partners TARGETS GENDER PROFILE 30% 67% 3% No Yes Not Reported