Travel Agents

Flight Centre ups its focus on gender diversity

Hannah Edensor

Flight Centre’s Annual General Meeting was held this week, and among one of the most important elements of the Chairman’s speech was the topic of gender diversity.

Chairman Gary Smith even gave a little shoutout to Women in Travel, as he mentioned the record number of nominees listed in the upcoming awards’ shortlist.

(P.S. – if you’re yet to get tickets for the prestigious Women in Travel Awards, there’s still time to snag them hereIt’ll be held on Monday 27 November at Dolton House Darling Island, and is one event you won’t want to miss.)

“The company is taking positive steps to enhance its gender diversity record,” Smith asserted.

“Programs are in place to help women progress within the organisation and a senior executive in Australia has been given responsibility for developing new programs and for removing any potential career roadblocks to advancing.

“About 75 per cent of our staff and about 50 per cent of our leaders are women and we believe we can increase this percentage in the future and play a proactive role in developing leaders who can progress to the highest levels.

“In Australia, we have 13 nominees in this year’s Women in Travel Awards, which is a great achievement.”

But, as many know, it’s at the Board level where gender diversity is hardest to achieve.

In a recent SMH article, Flight Centre was listed among 11 other Australian Stock Exchange-listed companies with no women on the board.

Just 64 companies featured one woman on the board.

To this point, Smith told the AGM of its intention to appoint Colette Garnsey, who will replace Cassandra Kelly who resigned last year, during which point the SMH article was likely written.

“When this board vacancy arose, we immediately initiated a search for a director with a skill-set that would bring new perspectives and dimension to the board and to the business,” Smith said.

“Colette, with her more than 30 years of experience in the global retail industry, is the ideal candidate and we are pleased that she will soon join us.

“While we are successfully growing low cost channels, enhancing productivity and seeking to slow overall cost growth, we remain a person-to-person business,” Smith added.

“Accordingly, we continue to invest in our people and in strategies that will improve retention, their health and financial wellbeing and create a brightness of future within our organisation.”

Smith also made reference to the recent move of Flight Centre’s global headquarters to a new location at Southpoint.

He said, “This move allowed us to bring all of our head office people together under one roof and has been positive from both a cultural and productivity perspective.”

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