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ANZ partners with GirlBoss New Zealand

A growing skill shortage, ongoing recognition of the importance equity, diversity and inclusion plays in business performance, and the gender pay gap in New Zealand has led ANZ NZ to think differently about sourcing talent for now and the future.


One approach we are taking is to identify talent early in order to grow the skills we need as a business, particularly female talent who may not have considered a bank as a particularly interesting or dynamic place to work, grow and have a career.


We have to think strategically about the future. Addressing skill shortages, the gender pay gap and developing the skills we need to be successful is a long-term game.


That’s why we’re thrilled to be partnering with GirlBoss New Zealand, an organisation to support young women into leadership and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers.


By working with GirlBoss New Zealand, we hope to encourage young women into careers they may not previously have considered.


GirlBoss New Zealand is the brainchild of Alexia Hilbertidou, who created the programme as a result of her own experiences as a teenager growing up in Auckland.


“I was 15 before I met a female software engineer. At 16, I was the only girl in my digital technology class and at 17 I was the only girl studying Advanced Physics. I started GirlBoss because I knew that something had to change,” Alexia says.


Founded in 2015, it has quickly grown to a network of 13,500 students nationwide and GirlBoss programmes are implemented in more than 100 schools across New Zealand and The Cook Islands.


“Our members, who are spread across New Zealand, from Northland to Invercargill, are united by their passion to use 21st Century skills to solve problems in their day-to-day lives and make a positive impact on the world.


“Our mission is to support young women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Finance careers. We want to build a future where our next generation will have choices, purpose and power.


“When I started GirlBoss New Zealand my goal was to help even just one young woman not feel so alone, I never could have imagined that we would now be helping tens of thousands of young women build confidence and find community.”


At just 22, Hilbertidou has been named the Pacific Young Entrepreneur of the Year and has just been listed in Forbes 30 under 30 2021.


ANZ NZ CEO Antonia Watson says it’s fantastic to have Alexia on board at ANZ.


“We have great policies and frameworks designed to get more women into leadership positions,” Ms Watson says.


“There is a real commitment to helping all our staff get their own work life balance with increased support through different stages in life with things like parental leave packages and flexible work.


“Currently, only 34.7% of leadership roles at ANZ are women, and 45% in management roles. In technology, only 37% of all roles are women – while this is better than the national average, we know there’s more we can do.


“The GirlBoss sponsorship is just another part of the programme of work in sourcing new and diverse talent to our business and one we hope will bring in younger female talent.”


The sponsorship kicks off with the launch of the GirlBoss Edge: Finance and Technology programme where 150 young women will have the opportunity to take part in a 10-day online career accelerator, which includes receiving one on one mentoring from ANZ staff.


The programme is free for young women aged 15-18 and applications are open now at https://www.girlbossedge.com/financetech.


ANZ will also be a sponsor of the GirlBoss Awards in September which honour young women aged 11-18 for their work to challenge gender stereotypes across all industries in New Zealand. (Last year’s supreme winner was Gina Dao-McClay who runs a youth podcast is one of the co-directors of the “Make it 16” project, a campaign to lower the voting age to 16.)


Alexia will also be stepping into a Brand Ambassador role to support ANZ to continue being a leading employer for women in New Zealand. She joins a strong line-up of women leaders at ANZ where the CEO, Chief Economist and Treasurer are all women, and 50% of the NZ Leadership team.

“In these roles we have the opportunity for our influence and contribution to the business community to make a significant impact,” Ms Watson says.


“I’ve been part of the executive team at ANZ for eight years. Being part of an executive team means you are in a position to make change.


“But perhaps more importantly, being part of a company with the scale of ANZ, is what enables that change to happen. For me it is more than the actions of one leader that are important. 

“Creating opportunities for women isn’t just at a corporate level – improving financial education, confidence and independence for all women is important.


“I’m looking forward to working closely with Alexia to bring more of these opportunities to young women across our communities.”


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