Downer is a people business. Our people make Downer what it is today and what it will be in the future. It’s our people who deliver services and build trusted relationships with our customers, strengthening Downer’s brand in the process. We strive to create an inclusive and flexible workplace that is both challenging and fulfilling to a diverse range of people with varying skills.
The increased spend by all levels of government in sectors Downer operates in is stretching an already limited skilled labour talent pool. This fact, combined with Downer’s large workforce, increases the importance of attracting and retaining skilled and engaged people by establishing Downer as a sought-after employer. We aim to do this by providing rich career development opportunities and attractive employee benefits, and developing leadership capability among our people. In FY19, Downer committed to achieving the following People targets and objectives:
- Strengthen our talent retention and attraction strategies, including increasing employee benefits and broadening Downer’s flexible working arrangements
- Increase the engagement and progress scores in our annual Employee Engagement Survey
- Improve our gender diversity balance by increasing female participation in the workforce and providing opportunities for women in leadership roles, including reviewing and setting new 2020 gender targets
- Continue to enhance our cultural development program, including the launch of Downer’s new two-year Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)
- Increase our pipeline of talent through generational diversity initiatives, like the expansion of our Graduate and Apprentice programs.
The performance information in this section includes Downer, its contractors and joint ventures in the following business lines: Transport and lnfrastructure; Mining, Energy and Industrial; Spotless; and New Zealand including Hawkins.
During FY19 Downer continued to build its people capability by developing leaders and a workplace that values diversity and recognises it is a key enabler for continued success.
Downer’s workforce consists of more than 52,000 people across Australia and New Zealand, with fewer than 1,000 people across other international markets. Of our workforce, 77 per cent are covered by collective agreements across the Australian and New Zealand markets. By employment contract, 62 per cent are permanent and 38 per cent are contingent workers. Refer to People performance data for a full breakdown of Downer’s workforce.
Throughout the year, Downer delivered on numerous initiatives to achieve the objectives and targets across our diversity focus areas of gender, culture and generations, as set out in last year’s Sustainability Report. Events of significance were celebrated across Downer for International Women’s Day, National Reconciliation Week, Harmony Week and NAIDOC Week. As part of Downer’s commitment to the advancement of women, we partnered with Habitat for Humanity by sending teams across NSW, Victoria and Queensland to participate in its ‘Homes for Hope’ project to renovate women’s crisis accommodation and build homes for vulnerable women and children in Australia. The activity was an excellent representation of Downer’s commitment to equality, diversity and Zero Harm.
A key platform to enhance our employee engagement level and value proposition was the dissemination of stories through a range of communication channels that reinforce Downer’s commitment to an inclusive culture. In September 2018 we launched DownerConnect, our native mobile app that keeps our people connected and informed about company news, announcements and job vacancies. The app has been downloaded by more than 12,000 people and has proven an effective communication platform, which we will continue to evolve and update in coming years.
Additional channels including Downer and Spotless intranet sites, public facing websites, CEO emails to employees and social media were also used to effectively deliver communication campaigns, including:
- Celebrating events of significance to promote diversity and inclusion
- A series of stories featuring talent and the success of our graduates, with a particular focus on female graduates
- ‘60 seconds with…’ video series featuring diverse and varied employees from across the business
- Feature stories on Sky News’ Mundine Means Business television program about some of Downer’s Indigenous engagement initiatives including the Waanyi Downer Joint Venture, North Queensland Cowboys House and PCYC Blackwater.
Downer understands we need to retain, develop and attract the best talent in order to successfully deliver on our Purpose, Promise and Pillars. Downer’s strategic approach to maintaining and developing the best talent starts with supporting and retaining our existing leadership and workforce talent.
We do this by constantly monitoring the labour and business markets to:
- Understand national and state-based skills shortages
- Benchmark and adjust employment packages
- Align our talent development and succession programs to business needs
- Direct our workforce development strategy and plans.
Gender parity in construction
From Downer graduate to Mining Engineer
Downer’s Graduate program is a cornerstone of our generational diversity focus and we continued to grow the program in FY19. The aim of our Graduate program is to attract high calibre talent and build a rich and diverse pipeline of future leaders. It is a two-year program in which graduates undertake rotations and gain experience across Downer Divisions. Downer Group’s coordinated attraction, recruitment, selection and development leverages the scale of the organisation to promote a compelling graduate value proposition.
Downer’s total workforce profile is 35 per cent female and 65 per cent male. In 2019, Downer has increased female participation in the workforce by one per cent. With a stable workforce size, this is a significant achievement within a 12-month period.
Overall, women in management positions remained stable and the recruitment and promotion of talented women will continue to be a focus for the next period to enable progress towards targets. This is reflected in the proposed initiatives to support diversity and inclusion for FY20.