Equal Pay Day: Unilever’s Shruti Ganeriwala Shares Strategies to Close the Gender Gap

By Alice Duthie
on 18 September 2023

Since 2017, Unilever has been recognised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality. So for International Equal Pay Day, we chatted with Unilever ANZ Head of HR Shruti Ganeriwala to find out more about Unilever’s DEI policies and strategies.

Could you explain how large the gender pay gap is at present in Australia?  

According to the most recent stats from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), an Australian government agency responsible for promoting and improving gender equality in Australian workplaces, Australia’s national gender pay gap is 13 per cent. That means that, on average, for every dollar earned by men, women earn 87 cents. 

It’s great to see that Unilever has been recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality. What are some key strategies that have led to this recognition? 

We’re proud to have a long-standing commitment to equal pay for equal work, and our compensation is intended to be gender-neutral, based on a pay-for-performance structure with clear reward policies.  

Beyond gender pay equity, we have taken action on other gender equity indicators. Some of our longest-running programs have focused on achieving a fair gender balance in our leadership, and half of our Australian and New Zealand management positions are held by women.   

Equal Pay Day: Unilever's Shruti Ganeriwala
Equal Pay Day: Unilever’s Shruti Ganeriwala

In terms of company culture, what are some actions that Unilever is taking to foster a day-to-day sense of inclusivity? 

We believe the future of work is putting people first and creating conditions for all people to thrive. Our DEI strategy is built around 4 key pillars: Gender, LQBTIQA+, Disability, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. 

We are committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment that embraces all sexual orientations and gender identifications, which is why we have partnered with Australian not-for-profit program Pride in Diversity when it comes to work inclusion for our LGBTQIA+ community. 

We are also partners of the Australian Network on Disability (AND) to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of our business. 

In 2021, we launched our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) with a clear vision: for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to be respected as the Traditional Owners of this land by everyone. We are currently in the Innovate phase of our RAP, with a focus to reimagine systems for change, and by doing so, contribute to the upward economic and social mobility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.   

Additionally, we have implemented progressive policies to support our team at work and home. These include 16 weeks of gender and status-neutral parental leave (no primary or secondary distinction), a hybrid work model and 4 Day Work Week, as well as an Interchangeable Leave Policy (the option to switch out leave for holidays that best align with the employees’ values e.g. working on 26 January). 

Equal Pay Day
Equal Pay Day: Unilever leads the way

Equal pay for equal work is an important aspect of gender equity. How does Unilever ensure gender-neutral compensation and maintain a pay-for-performance structure? 

We review our pay structures annually, which helps us identify any average pay differences between genders. Our analysis helps us identify any areas of gender representation imbalance, such as in the types of jobs held by women compared to men. We use this information to focus on where we can create a more balanced gender representation.  

Could you provide insight on how Unilever’s diversity, equity & inclusion commitments are contributing to the company’s overarching sustainability goals? 

We want Unilever Australia to be a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace for all. To do this, it’s essential that our policies and workforce are representative and supportive of the many rich cultures, identities and experiences that make up our business and country. 

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy is an integral part of Unilever’s Compass. It’s about doing what’s right for our employees, meeting the needs of the modern workforce, and laying the foundations for a future-fit business. 

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