Manufacturer Jayco is leading Gender Equity Innovation
Like all manufacturers, Jayco has been suffering from lockdowns, shortage of labour and competition from cheap Chinese imports. Initially, they struggled to attract people spending hours on Seek and even resorted to putting up billboards to gain enough staff to meet the increasing demand for caravans. Their innovation came with the decision to break with traditional 8-hour shifts and create a shift that supports working mothers, allowing them to do school drop off & pick up. Despite the fears of the sceptics, the results have been extraordinary with these part-time mothers being highly productive and rarely absent.
Another initiative to counteract the labour shortages has been to employ women on visas with only six months left. Many would have said this was a waste of time. Those at Jayco have decided to go the extra mile for their employees. They are proactively working as an employer to help them become Australian residents. All this continues to build a loyal and committed workforce. Today more than 50% of the new recruits to Jayco come via word of mouth from their existing employees.
CEO, Gerry Ryan says, “the most important part of your business is people and great people help you build a great business”. Jayco as a company is not only innovative in bringing women on as shift workers, it has been increasing female representation at every level. Only three years ago 20% of the management team were female, today that number has doubled, to 40% which is rarely seen in manufacturing, creating career paths for those women starting on the factory floor. This has been nurtured with the Jayco Women in Leadership program. Gerry continues,” it is about the best people for the job and to do that we need to upskill and develop our people”. He is adamant that by supporting gender equity he has created a stronger and more committed company that continues to grow and be successful.
When asked, what tomorrow brings, Gerry shared his ambitious plans to work across 15,000 school children to educate them on the benefits of apprenticeships encouraging more to see trades as a viable option, ” I am not waiting years, we are doing it now!”