Champions of Change Coalition commitment

05 September 2023

Essential Energy recently joined the Champions of Change Coalition, which was founded by Elizabeth Broderick AO in 2010 and includes 260 CEOs, including 17 CEOs from across the energy sector, working to accelerate change on gender equality.

Essential Energy CEO, John Cleland said “I am personally committed to this initiative because, as a dynamic and rapidly evolving industry, the energy sector should be leading the way on equality for all.

As we navigate the energy transition and the challenges it creates, diverse thinking and experience will be key in ensuring our success. We must have a workforce that reflects the communities we serve, allowing us to better understand our customer’s perspectives, anticipate their needs and exceed performance expectations,” John said.

Research consistently demonstrates the benefits of having a diverse workforce, especially where women are equally represented.

“Maximising our potential to recruit, develop and retain the skillset and leadership we have in the business, while attracting all possible candidates to every job we advertise, will enable us to continue building a workforce that can deliver on the projects that will build a new energy future. We are going to need more people in the business as the transition evolves and women will make that possible.”

Women represent 18% of Essential Energy’s workforce, and 24% across the energy sector.

“Increasing female representation will ensure expertise, innovation, and insights are harnessed to lead and support the transition,” John added.

In July, John hosted a number of “listen and learn” sessions, inviting a cross section of our employees to provide their views on gender equity in Essential Energy.

“To help us understand what may be holding people back, the levers we can use to ensure employees have equal opportunity to progress, and feedback on how we can achieve inclusive gender balance across our organisation, I held ‘Listen and Learn’ with employees from across the business.

“It was acknowledged during the sessions that Essential Energy has come a long way, but there is still significant room for improvement.

A number of key themes came from our first listen and learn sessions including unconscious bias training, opportunity for more role flexibility, an increase in targeted cadetships and more promotion of STEM role opportunities for women through come and try sessions.

Already we are implementing actions to improve, from reviewing our recruitment processes for more job share opportunities and implementation of unconscious bias training to the development of new strategies to concentrate on STEM opportunities in the marketplace and new modules in our leadership programs,” John said.

The listen and learn session will become a standard BAU practice at Essential Energy, ensuring we continue to ensure opportunities to women across our business and the energy sector.