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There is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to gender diversity in Australian workplaces, according to a Business Council of Australia (BCA) report.

The BCA's report is titled 'Increasing the Number of Women in Senior Executive Positions: Improving Recruitment, Selection and Retention Practices' and was released on November 5.

One of the goals of the BCA is to increase the number of women in senior roles in BCA organisations to 50 per cent in the next ten years, in order to benefit the economy, businesses and the community.

"While Australian women have been graduating from university in greater numbers than men since 1985, and women now make up around 46 per cent of the Australian workforce, they remain under-represented at board levels (16.4 per cent) and chief executive levels (3.5 per cent) of ASX 200 companies," said BCA President Tony Shepherd AO in a letter to BCA member chief executive officers on November 4.

This is even though women make up 50 per cent of business graduates and 60 per cent of law graduates, according to 2011 figures.

"The low representation of women in senior levels of management cannot continue. We risk not getting the best talent for the job and women not reaching their true potential. Such a situation is not good for individuals, business or the economy," Mr Shepherd continued.

The BCA report itself delves into how companies can use best practices to harness the talent of women to benefit their organisations.

For example, one of the most effective ways of increasing the participation of females in senior management positions is for the chief executive officer of a company to take the lead. This would include creating and declaring a strategy for achieving gender diversity, building awareness and understanding and visibly monitoring the female metrics of the organisation – and that's just the beginning.

Training against things like gender bias is even recommended for those in hiring positions. If you opt to do this, consider the use of a training feedback form for staff after the session so you can gauge its success and areas for improvement.

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