Bouris calls for more effective gender equality laws on International Women's Day

by Julia Corderoy09 Mar 2016
The executive chairman of listed mortgage and wealth group Yellow Brick Road (YBR) has challenged the government to mandate more effective gender equality laws regarding the hiring process for senior management positions.  

Speaking at YBR’s Women in Finance event held in Sydney yesterday on International Women's Day, Mark Bouris said he supports gender quotas for senior management positions, however, he admits quotas aren’t always the best solution – especially when quotas can mean the right person for the job isn’t selected for fear of being penalised. 

“I don’t have a problem with being mandated [for quotas]. Unless you mandate things, thing don’t happen. So I don’t have a problem with that but it is the penalty that is the issue. 

“If, for example, they say Mark, 50% of people on the board must be female and 50% must be male, I don’t have an issue with that. I will achieve it but if I can’t achieve it I think you shouldn’t be penalised. The penalty is the issue for me.”

Instead, Bouris is calling on the government to mandate gender equality laws in the interview process, rather than focussing on fulfilling quotas.

“Every time a job becomes available, you must interview an equal number of men to an equal number of women. Therefore, mathematically, you are more likely to pick the most appropriate person.

“Women mathematically have an equal chance of being that person, as opposed to being told you must have a female out of that pool of interviewees.”

Whilst this isn’t fully implemented in YBR at the moment, Bouris said it is something he is trying to achieve – and he hopes to lead as an example.

“That is something we are trying to achieve,” he said.

“I don’t have an issue without it being mandated but I think it is the only way to do it. If you ask me if I would lead by example then yes I would lead by example but I think this sort of thing takes 12 months or 18 months, you can’t do it overnight. 

“But it is something I would be happy to talk with my senior management about. Definitely as the [executive] jobs become available, I would be very happy – and in fact I am going to do this – to make sure I interview an equal number of men to women for those senior jobs.”