Kiwi digital marketing company looking to have 50/50 gender split by 2021

Gender equality in the workplace has long been an issue, but now, one New Zealand company is taking up the challenge with a gender quota.

Digital marketing company Yellow has set itself a target of a 50/50 gender split by 2021.

Yellow chooses the best person for the role while also ensuring fair gender representation by looking at their "priorities", Yellow chief experience officer Tracey Taylor told TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning.

"At Yellow, we’re in digital transformation, and part of that is transforming our culture, and diversity's a really important piece in that for us," she said.

"When we are intentionally transforming, we want to reflect our beautiful customer base, who are diverse and equal in many ways, and so we go about seeking different pathways, perhaps, to sort those teams."

Ms Taylor said part of the "different pathways" include greater opportunities for women through their Women in Leadership project, which "is about giving women confidence, and perhaps opportunities that they wouldn't otherwise have within our workplace."

She said while the business appeared diverse across the business, a look into their leadership team saw that it consisted mostly of men.

"Our business is actually beautifully diverse in terms of if we just looked at that across the business.

"It’s when we dug a bit deeper into how our leadership team’s made up, and about a year ago when we did that, we found 80 per cent of our leadership roles were male, so it became a really important priority for us."

Currently, the executive team is made up of two men and one woman. Last year, the number was six people, including five men and one woman.

Ms Taylor said the company aims to lessen the gender equality gap partly through attrition – looking at the candidate who replaces an employee when they leave the company – and "building awareness".

"We have a wonderful group of men in Yellow, actually, who are some of the biggest supporters of our parallel project," she said. "They have daughters, sisters, friends, partners who are affected by this and really proud, I think, to be part of the intention that we have."

She said while critics are concerned over meritorious male candidates being overlooked by less meritorious female candidates, Ms Taylor said it "depends on your priorities."

"We look at each of our roles on a case-by-case basis and, when it comes to what we're trying to do at Yellow, it’s about inclusion, so we've never had to compromise on skills or experience to gain equality or inclusion."

"We've got very used to workplaces, and particularly in corporate leadership teams, being made up in a certain way, and it can be quite a different thing to think about."

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Yellow chief experience officer Tracey Taylor joined Breakfast to discuss the goal. Source: Breakfast