*Guest Post from Money101

Tuesday, 8 March 2022 marks International Women’s Day. The occasion asks us to imagine a world of true gender equality, free of bias and discrimination; one where difference is valued and celebrated.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias. We’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions. Individuals can make a difference in breaking gender bias in our communities and workplaces.

Conscious and unconscious bias and discrimination in hiring and pay decisions have been cited as one of the drivers of the gender pay gap in Australia and New Zealand. Ingrained cultural biases, including assumptions about the kind of work women or men are capable of undertaking, disadvantage women and contribute to this pay gap.

According to the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s latest scorecard, the gender pay gap currently sits at 22.8 percent. Although some strides have been made – 4 in 10 employers have been found to narrow their pay gap in the last year, 3 in 5 employers now offer paid parental leave, and over half of the employers now offer paid domestic violence leave (compared to 12 percent in 2015-16) – it is nevertheless clear there is still a long way to go to achieve true gender equity.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency describes gender bias as “pervasive in Australian workplaces”. The Agency outlines that gender bias creates inequalities at every stage of the employment cycle. These include stereotypes that persist around employee roles, salary negotiations, managerial feedback, and career development opportunities. These factors have a compounding effect across women’s careers, leading to sustained inequality.

Retirement savings are the culmination of a lifetime of contributions; therefore, the gender gap also persists into retirement. In the years approaching retirement, the gender pay gap in Australia can be anywhere between 22 percent and 35 percent[1]. The median superannuation balance for men aged 60-64 years is $204,107, whereas for women in the same age group it is $146,900, a gap of around 28 percent[2].

In New Zealand, KiwiSaver balances for women aged 55-64 are already almost a quarter lower than those of men, even though the scheme only started in 2007[3].

How can we help tackle gender bias and ultimately gender inequality? The organisers of International Women’s Day organisers say we should[4]:

  • maintain a gender equal mindset;
  • challenge gender stereotypes, discrimination and bias;
  • call out gendered actions or assumptions;
  • celebrate women’s achievements; and
  • do our part to help forge gender equality.


Personalised, adaptive and mobile: What will L&D look like in 2022?

We are looking at a new era of how companies train their employees globally.

The past two pandemic years have proved challenging, difficult, but have fundamentally changed the way that organisations are looking at many areas of operation, not least Learning and Development.

With remote working becoming the norm, even a shift back into offices is unlikely to stop the wave of technology that is allowing employees to learn virtually whether at home or at their desk.

In Australia the rapid adoption of microlearning for Covid provides a window into how all manner of immediate response training will be used into the future. It is on demand, easily adapted to cover fast changing rules, regulations and social issues and targeted to specific employees.

What this means is that virtual learning is no longer an option, it is essential and increasingly into 2022 will be the norm. So what does this mean?

Employees are out the classroom

The days of many bored employees trapped in the same 4 hour training session in the office are slowly disappearing. Longform workshops will be unlikely to come back in the same vital way they operated before. This type of learning was efficient and seen to be easy to organise but did not always deliver results. 

Instead, employers will be looking for new ways of learning and development that can be better targeted to individuals with tangible results that can be tracked.

“Organizations are starting to pursue learning in new forms, and certainly at a new pace, where it’s much more frequent learning opportunities,” says Tracey Malcolm, global future of work leader at the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson told the Wall Street Journal

“The formal training itself is certainly bite-sized, so that it can be consumed more quickly, [and] the pace of learning is increased.”

However, some learning that requires a more immersive experience, such as leadership or team development, is likely to remain as a focus in person.

Results driven training

As tech-led L&D is more firmly entrenched, the ability to analyse and improve training based on results will be essential.

In crucial areas like compliance, it is essential to understand where employees do and do not understand material, and adapt learning to cover any potential risks.

This approach will begin to affect all areas of L&D with employers gaining a true understanding of staff knowledge and understanding in real-time. As a by-product, the level of analytics will also lead towards a more adaptive approach, with more productive training and fewer training hours.

Tuning into regular microlearning 

The idea that essential training is boring is over. Instead of lengthy dull training sessions, employees are now being delivered shorter courses that they are able to do when suits them at more regular intervals.

In 2022 the emphasis on this type of learning will continue creating bite-sized, relevant training that will improve employee engagement. 

To connect with its staff and improve engagement, global online foreign exchange and payments business OFX delivers a video from its CEO which is the first thing people see when they enter the compliance training.

 It tells them why it is important and why it matters to the company. 

The decision to roll out shorter training on a regular basis has gone a long way towards creating a stronger compliance culture for OFX, instilling in staff an habitual awareness of how regulatory obligations and ethical considerations apply to their workplaces and practices. 

No one-size approach

With a digital-first approach, in 2022 personalised learning will be an essential tool for organisations to embrace. 

With people used to personalised service in almost every aspect of their lives through new tech platforms like Uber, Amazon or Netflix, grabbing employee attention through training must cater to their individual needs. 

That means content that is relevant to job, skill set and knowledge base. Adaptive learning is designed to recognise prior learning, trim down the training hours and give learners training that is more relevant to them. It aims to emulate the most effective teaching method of 1:1 instruction and improve cognitive engagement with the training.

We find by being challenged with content not seen before there is improved cognitive engagement with material. 

And for compliance training managers, there is reduced push-back from learners who have been through the training before. 

2022 and beyond

We believe that organisations around the world will not turn back from the digital-first approach that has seen them successfully navigate through the pandemic.

In fact, greater access to analytics and understanding of employee knowledge will continue to transform learning and development as we work towards a new normal with a far more adaptable set of tools at our disposal.

Organisations will also enhance development programs with content that adds value to their employees wellbeing, offering education on financial literacy, health and more.