Toorak Collegians filling leadership roles, data reveals

Toorak College
Dec 12, 2019 2:51:00 PM

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A 2019 Toorak College survey has revealed that more than 65 percent of Toorak Collegians surveyed are carrying leadership positions from managerial to CEO roles, highlighting that our graduates are part of the progress towards gender parity in the workforce.  

Toorak College graduates are leading the charge in the workforce landscape, securing more managerial positions and promotions. From a survey conducted by Toorak College, 65 percent of Collegian survey takers from the 1960s to recent graduates held leadership positions from managerial to CEO level. Types of industries that proved popular from the survey included marketing and communications, healthcare sector, education, sales and social services. 

The current snapshot of the workforce, globally and in Australia, is still far from reaching parity. 2019 marks 50 years since the landmark 1969 equal pay decision that first saw Australian women win the right to be paid the same as men for doing the same work, or work of equal or comparable value. Despite Australia’s female workforce participation rate reaching record levels over the last five decades, men still out-earn women and the pay gap is consistent across every industry, occupation and manager category. 

businessman and woman

What is the data telling us about gender parity in the workforce?

The gender pay gap is estimated to see parity in 2039 and female CEO and board representation will not see equality until 2100. 

Alarmingly, the glass ceiling remains a barrier for women at CEO level, with very little movement in the last five years. Female CEOs in Australia sit at a stagnant 17.1 percent, suggesting a gender strategy is lacking from many leading companies.  

board room female ceo

“A strategy needs to incorporate the voice of employees and be based on where the organisation is currently at, and what needs to shift, for employees to truly believe in the organisation’s position on gender equality and create meaningful change,” said Kylie Bishop, Group Executive People & Culture of Medibank. 

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, The number of women running top ASX-listed companies has spiralled backwards as The Chief Executive Women (CEW) ASX200 Senior Executive Census 2019 showed just 12 of Australia's top-listed companies have a woman chief executive, a drop from 14 in 2018. The article quoted that a “gender-balanced team had a 40/40/20 split: 40 percent men, 40 percent women and 20 percent flexible depending on the dynamics within the company.” Of those 200 top companies listed, 17 companies did not have a single woman represented in its senior executive level. These companies sit within industries such as mining and coal, pharmaceutical, media and infrastructure – industries already boasting an under-representation of females. 

Moreso, female board representation is simmering at just 26 percent. Australia’s gender parity is estimated to be reconciled by 2039 if we keep progressing at the current pace, suggesting much work still needing to be done. That means for many women currently in the workforce, they will not see equal pay perhaps at all in their working lifetime. 

Despite female executive roles being under-represented, more women are getting promoted to managerial roles.

Promotions to managerial roles in the last year saw more than 43 percent of women being selected, which is encouraging news. In alignment with promotions,  paid parental leave is being offered more in the workforce. Many organisations are implementing policies or strategies to support gender equality or promote flexible working, as well as measuring their pay gaps and taking action to close them. However, despite managerial roles being handed to women, the management power line still sees women at the bottom.  In data reports, the term “management power line” estimates how successful companies have been at promoting women. The Australian Financial Review states, “The power line pecking order is CEO, CFO, other finance/strategy, business/product management, IT, human resources and shared services. The majority of women are down the end of the power line.” 


Women are being paid on average $25,000 less than men per year. 

According to the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency, data shows that women’s average full-time remuneration is 20.8 percent less than men’s, which equates to men pocketing an extra $25,000 every year for comparable work.  In some industries, such as construction where men are the dominant gender, the pay gap is up to almost 35 percent in favour of men. In female-dominated industries such as health care, women are still being paid 15 percent less than men. 

Construction paid more to men than women

How is Toorak College helping to shape our young women for leadership positions? How can we help to inspire change?

Industry partnerships with world-renowned industry leaders

As the top performing school on the Mornington Peninsula, Toorak students are exposed to a breadth of industry partnerships to take with them into their future. In 2019, Toorak aims to empower young people to develop meaningful aspirations and pathways in the realm of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) by partnering with industry expert Downer Road Services. Toorak College is the only school to secure exclusive places within Downer’s Cadetship Program as part of an innovative partnership aimed at empowering young females to experience employment upon graduating secondary education. This partnership offers Toorak College’s graduating Year 12 students up to two positions in Downer’s Road Services’ Cadet Program available to those who have chosen to pursue STEM-based university degrees and desire a career in construction and engineering. Toorak Collegian Madeline McComb (TC ‘19) was the first student to accept a position in the cadet program, before her ATAR result had been released. Alongside Downer, Toorak also exclusively partnered with RMIT’s initiative CS in Schools to help boost digital technology integration into students’ learning among current teachers.  Principal Mrs Kristy Kendall is working to improve industry connections with an aim to secure various partnerships within the next few years across all kinds of industries to help promote equal opportunity for young women. 

Kristy Kendall and Downer partnering

World-class education on a holistic level to ensure our students are equipped with the skills, tools, knowledge and confidence to brave the world with the courage to change it

Toorak College facilitates a world-class education that fosters student pathways beyond their academic experience. As a school, our expertise lies in our approach and understanding of learning, our development of curriculum and our creation of opportunity. Project Shine is a new learning approach from Early Learning to Year 12, designed to take our students on a holistic journey, allowing them to truly capitalise on their potential and expand their world view and their place within it. Project Shine is targeted around three priorities; (a) social, moral, emotional and cognitive development of young people, (b) the development of thinking, learning habits and strategies over time, (c) necessary future skills and opportunities. Students gain courage, agility and determination through their years at Toorak, which prepares them to shine. These initiatives help our young women achieve leadership positions in sport, STEM, IT, debating and so much more whereby those roles may be undertaken by males at co-educational schools. 

Science students

Exceptional university pathways for local and international students 

Almost all of our students are guaranteed first preference of university as they are assisted in their application preparations by our Student Futures Specialist who works to cement relationships with tertiary establishments and industry. Alongside a rigorous VCE offering, students are also exposed to LinkedIn Learning, where they can participate in online courses across all industries to help them gain microskills. Building upon this online platform, Toorak set up a secure group made up of Collegians and students to network, brainstorm and engage in industry opportunities. The Collegians and senior students work closely in networking events to further support the transition into life beyond school. This platform is about established women helping graduating women gain the confidence and skills to enter an ever-evolving workforce beyond school. 

With 65 percent of our Collegians carrying leadership positions, we are optimistic about the change of landscape within females in the workforce and will continue to grow as we work with our young people to challenge the current world and empower them to brave positive change. 

Discover what makes Toorak College unique by attending our small group tours and prospective parent information evenings. Enrolments now open!

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