DEI in industrial: Here’s how the sector’s biggest names are spearheading change

November 30, 2023

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Recent findings about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies are undeniable: DEI is more than just a business buzz term.

In fact, a robust DEI policy is every organisation’s secret weapon for driving performance across metrics.

The industrial sector is embracing this knowledge. And Women In Industrial’s partners are leading the way.

We looked at the DEI policies of three of our partners – Charter Hall, Goodman and ESR Australia – and found a spate of initiatives making the industrial sector a welcoming place to people of every kind.

But first: what is DEI?

DEI stands for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It represents a set of values used by organisations to welcome and support people from all walks of life.

The principles are interconnected, but each has a distinct meaning:

  • Diversity encompasses differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, ability and socioeconomic status.
  • Equity means equal access to opportunities, resources and support for all – while addressing systemic and structural barriers.
  • Inclusion involves fostering a culture where everyone feels welcome, valued, respected and authentically themselves – enabling them to contribute fully to the work.

Most businesses once relegated DEI initiatives to the ‘nice to have’ list. But today, DEI sits firmly in the core of business strategies across Australia.

Here’s how three of our member organisations are embracing DEI with gusto.

Charter Hall

Benchmarks: they can be contentious.

But Charter Hall is embracing them, using external measures – like the Australian Workplace Equality Index – to track its progress across several DEI categories.

It’s just one of the ways Charter Hall is implementing its ‘business-oriented approach to DEI’.

Other moves include taking a ‘panel pledge’ to only participate in industry panels that involve female moderators or speakers. And maintaining employee-led diversity networks to give staff a voice in shaping the company’s DEI agenda.

The key to Charter Hall’s success in implementing critical DEI initiatives? Leaders who understand the business case – and are invested in the outcomes.

So, to ensure the support not only sticks but is modelled from the top, Charter Hall’s leaders receive training on:

  • Unconscious bias
  • Practices to foster inclusive behaviours and embed psychological safety
  • Management skills to encourage and leverage diversity of thought

Safe to say, Charter Hall is serious about welcoming people of diverse cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, abilities and ages. It’s made that position public through membership like the Diversity Council of Australia, Pride in Diversity and the Australian Network on Disability. And by embracing and embedding a Reconciliation Action Plan.

But perhaps most impressive is Charter Hall’s recognition as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality. In part, that title is due to the company’s forward-thinking parental leave policies, which include:

  • 16 weeks of paid parental leave to the primary carer
  • Four weeks of paid leave to the secondary carer
  • Superannuation for the unpaid portion of each primary carer’s parental leave
  • Ongoing accrual of long service leave – even if staff take unpaid parental leave

as a benchmark for First Nations too.


Goodman’s commitment to inclusion and diversity is true to its purpose, which is to make space for greatness.

And to make space for more great women, Goodman has set a target of 40% female representation in senior management by 2030. It aims to achieve this by maintaining a laser focus on succession planning, talent development and management activities, including:

  • Engagement with universities to access top emerging female talent
  • Active participation in industry groups and forums – including the Property Council of Australia’s (PCA) 500 Women in Property program
  • Coaching and mentoring programs, including group mentoring, one-on-one coaching and knowledge-sharing sessions

In addition to its existing progressive parental leave policies, Goodman has embraced flexible work by employing a suite of solutions to meet the flexibility needs of all staff – including options to work from home, a satellite office setup and linking staff performance to outcomes, not presenteeism.

It has also partnered with Circle In, an online resource designed to support and empower parents and caregivers to thrive at work and at home.

Beyond gender diversity, Goodman is tackling DEI across all fronts through its Inclusion and Diversity Steering Group. With a clear vision supported by delivery pillars – and driven by leaders – the steering group implements meaningful DEI initiatives for staff, including:

  • Inclusive leadership training
  • Coaching and mentoring programs
  • Secondment and development opportunities for underrepresented groups
  • A calendar of social events to raise awareness of DEI
  • Staff surveys to measure and track inclusion over time

Importantly, Goodman empowers all people to shape the company’s future through various other working groups, addressing critical issues like reconciliation, sustainability, mental health and innovation.

ESR Australia

ESR Australia embraced DEI in a big way by making it one of its central organisational values.

The result? Policies that support all staff to participate in work without compromising on life.

Policies like 22 weeks of parental leave. Access to flexible work and two weeks of purchased leave. And an annual ‘kids at work’ event that lets children see where their parents work. (With a jam-packed, kid-friendly calendar of fun-filled activities to boot.)

ESR is also playing its part in encouraging more women into the industrial sector. It has created a set of female-focused initiatives to increase the gender mix across all levels of the company. Examples include:

  • Participation in the PCA’s 500 Women in Property program
  • Membership with Parents at Work, to become a more family-friendly workplace
  • Scholarships and internships to build the pipeline of emerging female talent
  • International Women’s Day celebrations

Importantly, ESR has committed to a 40:40:20 target – which aims for company-wide inclusion rates of 40% women, 40% men and 20% discretionary.

And it has committed to pay parity on like-for-like roles.

Outside of core business, ESR supports the mental health of those working in the road transport and logistics industries by partnering with Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds. The primary goal? To support an industry-wide strategy to improve the psychological safety of staff working within ESR sites, so they can participate fully in work and life.

Next up for ESR? Advancing its reconciliation action plan with Indigenous Australians.

Are you ready to join an industry that welcomes people of all kinds? Browse job vacancies with our partners – including Goodman, ESR Australia and Charter Hall.

  • 151 Property
  • CBRE
  • Charter Hall
  • Frasers Property Industrial
  • Goodman
  • The GPT Group
  • TMX
  • Vaughan Constructions
  • Realterm
  • ESR
  • Cushman Wakefield
  • Frank Knight