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We strive to create an inclusive work environment, with particular attention to gender diversity and the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Wesfarmers strives to create a work environment which is inclusive of all people regardless of gender, age, race, disability, sexual orientation, cultural background, religion, family responsibilities or other areas of potential difference. All areas of diversity are important and Wesfarmers pays particular attention to gender diversity and the inclusion of Indigenous peoples.

Our approach to diversity

Wesfarmers recognises the value that diversity can bring, which includes:

  • broadening the skills and experience of the pool from which Wesfarmers can draw and attract top talent to our businesses;
  • providing greater alignment to customer needs;
  • improving creativity and innovation; and
  • modelling responsible corporate citizenship.

Wesfarmers has developed and implemented a Diversity Policy that aims to foster diversity at all levels within the Group.

Gender diversity

Women hold 45 per cent of salaried roles

While Wesfarmers’ workforce is made up of 55 per cent women and 45 per cent men as at 30 June 2015, a key opportunity for the Group is to increase the percentage of leadership positions held by women. Women hold 45 per cent of salaried roles and 57 per cent of award or Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) roles. Further details of female representation across the Group over time are set out below:


The Wesfarmers Diversity Policy outlines four core objectives which are used to measure performance in this area. The objectives are reviewed annually and are intended to remain relevant to the Group over a number of years. Specific progress targets are linked to senior executive key performance objectives under the annual incentive plan. Given the diversity of the Wesfarmers portfolio, each division has developed its own gender diversity plan in line with the Group policy and tailored to the specific circumstances of that division.

The four objectives and indications of progress achieved for all roles at manager level and above are outlined below:

Foster an inclusive culture: This objective seeks to leverage each individual's unique skills, background, and perspectives.

Inclusion begins with practices designed to increase retention of leaders with significant responsibilities outside of work.  All Wesfarmers divisions have embraced this opportunity in a variety of ways, including flexible work arrangements, paid parental leave, keep-in-touch programs and on-site vacation childcare. This year, 86 per cent of flexible role incumbents were women.

Improve talent management: This objective seeks to embed gender diversity initiatives into our broader talent management processes in order to support the development of all talent.

A focus on increasing representation of women in leadership is embedded throughout Group and divisional talent management practices including talent reviews, formal leader development (i.e., 360 assessment, programs, coaching, mentoring) and development of talent through stretch assignments. The Group Managing Director meets at least once annually with each division to formally review senior leader performance and development, succession plans for critical roles, and the pipeline of high-potential leaders.

In the 2015 financial year, 80 per cent of our women leaders were retained, with women comprising 21 per cent of the divisional leadership team succession pipeline population.

Enhance recruitment practices: This objective is a commitment to hiring the best person for the job, which requires consideration of a broad and diverse talent pool.

In the 2015 financial year, 40 per cent of externally recruited positions and 31 per cent of internal promotions (all manager level and above roles) were filled by women. Across all roles, women and men were recruited evenly (49.7 per cent women, and 50.3 per cent males).

Ensure pay equity: This objective aims to ensure equal pay for equal work across our workforce. 

Each year we undertake a gender pay review for all salaried employees by examining remuneration over seventeen job levels. The 2015 review indicated that in the majority of pay levels no gap existed and where gaps were evident, these could be explained with reference to market forces, which may include, for example, different rates of pay in different industries, location, the relative supply and demand for different qualifications, individual performance and experience.

Every year, Wesfarmers businesses lodge their annual compliance reports with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). A copy of these reports may be obtained via the WGEA website.

Wesfarmers has become a signatory to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles. Our support of the principles is consistent with our ongoing commitment to gender diversity and aligned to the work we are currently doing across the Group. For more information click here.

Indigenous representation in our workforce

61 per cent increase in Indigenous employees

Wesfarmers has maintained a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) since 2009. A RAP is a public Indigenous engagement strategy, registered with Reconciliation AustraliaOur RAP is the overarching document for divisional Indigenous engagement strategies and is available here.

Across the Group, we have made commitments to increasing our Indigenous cultural awareness; supporting Indigenous organisations through employee secondments; investing in Indigenous education; increasing purchasing from Indigenous-owned businesses; and growing our Indigenous workforce.

This year, we made progress across all areas of our RAP, with the following highlights.

Indigenous employment 

Indigenous employment remains the primary focus of our RAP. This year, we improved internal reporting mechanisms to allow us to better track Indigenous employment and retention. At 30 June 2015, Wesfarmers had 2,762 Indigenous team members, representing 1.4 per cent of Wesfarmers’ Australian workforce. This was a 61 per cent increase on the previous year . Full Indigenous employee numbers can be found in the table below.



Full-time and school-based traineeship programs continue in four businesses and an Indigenous cadetship is offered in corporate office. Coles’ self-identified Indigenous team members increased by more than 900 this year, to a total of 1,765 people.  This was partially driven by Coles hiring 500 Indigenous team members through its First Steps Indigenous employment program and direct recruitment.

We continue our successful partnership with The Kaiela Institute on an employment broker program that supports Indigenous job-seekers in Shepparton, Echuca and surrounding areas in Victoria. Through this program, Wesfarmers has employed more than 60 Indigenous people over four years. Click here to see a video about the Kaiela Institute employment broker program.

Indigenous community partnerships

We continued community partnerships with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, the Kaiela Institute and Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships. We also increased our sponsorship of The Clontarf Foundation, with a new, three-year partnership agreement.  Click here to see a video about Wesfarmers’ Indigenous community partnership program.

Many divisions also continued or commenced partnerships with organisations that support Indigenous communities, such as The Fred Hollows Foundation, Red Dust Role Models and The Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation

Indigenous procurement activities

To support our RAP objective of increasing purchasing from Indigenous suppliers, Wesfarmers continues its membership of Supply Nation. Supplier diversity training was provided to representatives from six divisions in October 2014 and representatives of four divisions and corporate office attended the Supply Nation Connect Aboriginal business conference in May 2015. Indigenous-sourced products, including Yaru Water and Outback Spirit products, are ranged in Coles outlets nationally, contributing to a cumulative spend of more than $20 million with Supply Nation-certified suppliers. Click here to watch a video about Kmart and Bunnings’ work with Supply Nation-certified supplier Young Guns Container Crew. Our full RAP report and 2015 – 2016 RAP commitments can be found here.

Age diversity

Our workforce broadly reflects the Australian working population, with higher representation of young people. We employ one in 14 working Australians under 20. By providing these first jobs, our businesses enable young people to acquire skills and experience early, which is useful to them in a career with us, or in other employment. To see details of the age distribution of our workforce, see Our Data.

Employing people with disabilities

Our businesses are committed to creating opportunities for people with disabilities. Kmart partners with Disability Works Australia (DWA) to provide job opportunities for people with disabilities.  DWA ensure all of the applicants are suitably assessed against the jobs requirements before placing them in a role with their business. Click here to view Kmart's employment of Activ team members at their distribution centre. 

Coles has been a gold star member of the Australian Network on Disability since 2013.  Coles has worked with the network on initiatives such as the accessibility trolley.



GRI Reference: G4-DMA (Diversity and equal opportunity), G4-DMA (Equal remuneration for women and men), G4-10, G4-11, G4-EC5, G4-LA1, G4-LA12, G4-LA13