Developed by the Universities Australia Executive Women’s Group, the new resource outlines how senior leaders can actively create opportunities to develop the skills and careers of their staff.
Sponsorship: Creating Career Opportunities for Women in Higher Education is another practical resource to tackle the under-representation of women in senior university leadership.
Universities Australia’s Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the guide affirmed how important it was for leaders to actively support career development for their direct reports.
“It really highlights that career development is a core leadership responsibility and that sponsorship is a powerful tool that can accelerate career progression, especially for women,” she said.
“We congratulate UAEW on producing another high-quality practical resource to help university leaders maximise these opportunities to develop the careers of their staff.”
UAEW Co-Chair Professor Kerri-Lee Krause said rather than putting the onus on staff to seek out development opportunities, it encourages senior leaders to draw on their power, networks and influence to create opportunities for more junior colleagues.
“Significant progress has been made in recent decades on the road towards gender equality in higher education, but there’s still a distance to travel,” she said.
“This guide offers strategic advice and practical tips on how leaders can personally help to grow the number and proportion of women in senior leadership roles.”
UAEW Co-Chair Professor Marcia Devlin said the sponsorship resource is a how-to guide for leaders on how they can actively create opportunities to develop the careers of their staff.
“It drills down into the responsibilities of leaders to be active sponsors. It’s not passively mentoring – it’s about nominating them for opportunities and picking up the phone on their behalf,” she said.
“It’s about encouraging leaders to become personally invested in the success of their protégés, advocating for them, and leveraging their own reputational and social capital to help them.
”UAEW has developed a series of high-quality practical resources in recent years that draw on best practice in recruitment, mentorship and sponsorship, and highlight the need to tackle unconscious bias, to advance gender equality.
Universities Australia thanks UAEW and its partners – including the advisory group that provided feedback during the guide’s development – for their work.