Champions for Change represents a collective mission for more diverse, inclusive and equitable workforces of the future and a commitment of transparency and accountability to the bold action required to realise that mission.
Our country has changed. Environmentally, economically, demographically, socially and politically. With those changes comes an emerging new identity. One of a diverse Asia Pacific hub underpinned by the strong indigenous foundation of Tāngata Whenua. The pathway towards a healthy flourishing nation asks for unity around this emerging identity, it invites those leaders to step forward who have the courage and ambition to shine a light on a new pathway – one where everyone is included and is given the opportunity to thrive.
We have always been curious innovators, ambitious exporters and adventurous navigators. The growing diversity of our country weaved together with these inherent strengths is our biggest strategic opportunity to continue to build a world class nation that is resilient to the inevitable challenges of our future.
We acknowledge bringing this vision to life will take time, debate, frustration and compromise. Getting comfortable operating in this space will be vital to its realisation. Balancing our responsibility to lead with intergenerational stewardship with the immediate needs of our communities will be the sweetspot we seek to find.
Aotearoa, New Zealand has a proud history when it comes to empowering women. We often cite the historic moment in 1893 when New Zealand became the first self-governing nation in the world in which women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections. And there have been many more markers of progress and celebration in the 130 years since. However, in recent times we are observing a growing concern that we are being left behind our OECD neighbours when it comes to frameworks of transparency and accountability that drive more equitable outcomes for women. We have an opportunity to recapture our position as a global leader in women’s empowerment via a dedicated agenda that seeks to close stubborn pay gaps, improve women’s health outcomes and setup the next generation of wāhine in Aotearoa, New Zealand to stand tall and flourish.
The nature of our labour market has changed forever – the downstream impacts of closed borders and the stagnation of our domestic working age population growth mean we will be facing ongoing skill shortages and have a heavy reliance on a migrant workforce now and into our future.
This means we would be missing a huge opportunity not to consider the whole of the talent pool when designing our workforces of the future – and that means creating working environments, business models, policies and cultures that are attractive to historically underrepresented groups.
When we look to the results of this year’s data representing 150,000 employees there are signs of real encouragement. Firstly, the growing number of organisations and industries joining the Champions for Change movement. Of particular note are organisations that are historically male dominated – we now have partners in rail, automotive, construction and manufacturing. By joining Champions for Change these leaders are making a public commitment to transparently and accountably leading an agenda for change within their organisation and beyond. The data for those organisations tells a story of the start of a long-term journey towards change.
In Te Ao Māori the concept of kotahitanga speaks to the notion of unity. The belief that we will be better off working in harmony than in division and that differences are acknowledged as a strength. Those willing to enter into kotahitanga must do so with the vulnerability to listen, the grounded confidence to create space for others and the curiosity and patience for a better future together.
Even though Māori have understood this concept for centuries it is no more relevant than where we stand today in 2023 Aotearoa, New Zealand. A time of significant change and a critical juncture that will inform the trajectory of our nationhood.
Our success will be underpinned by our ability to adopt the principles of kotahitanga. Come join us.
Ngā mihi nui,
Co-Chair Champions for Change
CEO, ANZ Bank New Zealand
Co-Chair Champions for Change
Executive Chair, KPMG New Zealand
Vice-Chair Champions for Change
Chair, Global Women