22 June 2018

The emphasis was on diversity, gender imbalance and pay equity, and work-life balance when Julia Bachelor-Smith spoke at the Business on Toast breakfast meeting held at Corelli’s.

Julia covered the wide range of diversity in our community which included things such as ethnicity, age, religion, gender, experience, and sexual orientation.  With over 210 ethnicities, NZ is one of the most diverse countries in the world and our workforce and thinking should reflect this.  Julia stressed that compromise does not come about by embracing diversity and in fact, it enhances diversity of thought which in turn addresses the changing face of NZ business and enhances society in the long-term.

Gender Imbalance and pay equity.  NZ still needs to do more to address the way women are underrepresented, underpaid and undervalued.  There is lack of infrastructure and willingness to accommodate the needs of women with children.  e.g. 60% of law graduates are women but make up less than 30% of partners or directors in law firms and 15% of Queens Counsel are women.

Julia stressed the need for equal pay for equal work irrespective of gender. Overall, in New Zealand, women are paid 16% less than men doing the same job. This figure rises to 22% for Maori and 26% for Pasifika.

Work-Life Balance Julia prefers to refer to this as work-life blend and believes it is possible to have it all but in order to do this, it is necessary to prioritise needs and manage time well.

Julia is a lawyer at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and has written a book “Balancing Work and Life: A Practical Guide for Lawyers” and although this is written for lawyers many of the themes will resonate with those engaged in professional services and who are juggling their professional and home life.