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Staff Recruitment Guidelines - Targeting Women for Senior Positions

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) These Guidelines will assist Charles Sturt University (the University) executive and senior managers to develop an effective and targeted search plan, to increase applications from suitably qualified women when recruiting to senior University positions. Increasing the proportion of women occupying executive and senior positions is a key strategic objective of the University.


(2) These Guidelines apply to executive and senior staff recruiting all staff to academic staff positions at Level D or above and to professional and general staff positions at Level 10 and above.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(3) For the purpose of this document, a search plan - means a recruitment tool designed to broaden the pool of suitably qualified applicants to a vacant position. The plan outlines strategies to identify and reach out to potential applicants, including those not actively job seeking. A search plan may utilise both formal and informal networks. A search plan is additional and complementary to mainstream recruitment and advertising processes. Senior positions are defined as academic positions at Level D and above and professional and general staff positions at Level 10 and above.

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Section 3 - Policy

(4) Nil.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(5) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

Part A - Search Strategy

(6) Women are a minority of staff in senior positions at the University. As one among a number of strategies to increase the representation of women in leadership roles, the Vice-Chancellor has approved the implementation of search plans, as specified in clauses 7 and 8.

(7) Executive/senior managers undertaking recruitment to fill senior positions within offices, faculties and divisions will:

  1. develop and implement a search plan to increase the number of applications from women. Search plans will contain strategies to identify and reach out to potential, suitably qualified female applicants; and
  2. report to the Executive Director, People and Culture on the strategies implemented through the search plan and their outcome. These reports will form part of the University's equity reporting to the University Council and external agencies.

(8) Where there are no female applicants to a senior position and the executive/senior staff member leading the recruitment has not implemented a search plan, short-listing will be delayed until such a plan is implemented.

Part B - Procedures for Developing and Implementing a Search Plan

(9) The search plan will be developed during the recruitment planning phase. The plan will include strategies identified in Parts C and D of these Guidelines.

(10) The plan should target suitably qualified women for the purpose of inviting them to apply.

(11) A range of media can be used to approach and connect with potential applicants, including email, phone and social media.

(12) Implementation of the search should commence either just before or at the same time as the position is advertised.

(13) All applicants will be short-listed and selected on the basis of merit. Therefore, when inviting the submission of applications, no commitment will be given regarding the application outcome.

(14) Where an executive/specialist recruitment firm is engaged to conduct a search to identify suitable applicants for recruitment to a senior position, the executive firm:

  1. will be informed of these guidelines; and
  2. will provide the University with a search report that includes the number of women and men contacted during the search.

(15) Executive/senior staff responsible for recruiting to the senior position will provide a report on the search process, which includes the number of women and men contacted as part of the selection documentation forwarded to the Division of People and Culture. This may include a search report from an executive/specialist recruitment firm (clause 14) if such a firm was used. A search report form is available from the Division of People and Culture.

(16) The short-list of appropriate candidates, compiled by the Presiding Officer responsible for recruiting to the position or the executive search firm, must be provided. It is desirable that applications received and those moving through to short-listing for interviews comprise a minimum of 50 percent females. If this criterion is not met, then an explanation for the percentage must be given and consideration may be given to expanding the search.

Part C - Strategies That May be Adopted by a Search Plan

(17) Executive and senior staff within offices, faculties and divisions may use, but are not restricted to, any of the following search options:

  1. identify and reach out to qualified female applicants within the University and invite them to apply for the position;
  2. seek recommendations from people who are in a position to identify prominent women in the discipline or profession who might meet the requirements - for example, heads of departments in Australian or overseas universities, senior managers in the field, key figures in relevant professional or academic associations;
  3. contact senior women in the field who are known to employees of the Section and understood to possess the appropriate qualifications - if they are not interested, they may be able to suggest other colleagues;
  4. utilise online recruitment advertising platforms to direct the search for potential applicants;
  5. circulate the advertisement through online social and professional networks and forums;
  6. access the Universities Australia Executive Women (UAEW) Group or university handbooks to identify and contact appropriately qualified senior women at other universities;
  7. engage with women's academic networks or professional networks to place advertisements and generate interest;
  8. advertise at conferences and seminars organised by women in the profession;
  9. contact the Human Resources Liaison Team for information held by the Division of People and Culture on relevant email lists and databases that could be used to identify potential applicants;
  10. engage an executive/recruitment search firm that specialises in and has a reputation for successful gender diversity searches;
  11. customise the advertising content to attract female applicants, for example, refer to flexible work arrangements and support for family and caring responsibilities in the advertisement; and
  12. ensure job search mechanisms and processes contain gender neutral language.

Part D - Longer Term Strategies

(18) Longer term strategies for increasing the applicant pool of women for senior positions include the following:

  1. keep in contact with women from the Section who have been promoted to positions outside the University - they may be able to provide contact with other eligible women outside the University;
  2. invite visiting female scholars to the Faculty and use them to establish contact with suitably qualified women in their organisations;
  3. encourage and support the career and leadership development of women in your own Section;
  4. identify women in middle management and mentor them as future senior leaders;
  5. use the Senior Women's Forum to mentor female staff and to identify strategies for female advancement;
  6. seek to attract more postgraduate female students and provide support through the faculty to retain them for academic/research positions; and
  7. use conferences as opportunities for talent spotting.