“It can’t be set and forget”: Cathy O’Connor on oOh!media closing the gender pay gap and its ambitions for an equal workforce

oOh!media - sustainability pay equity Cathy O'Connor

“We’ve been working hard with a dedicated team and strategies in place for a number of years now.”

oOh!media has closed the gender pay gap, with women in the business earning more than 2.2% more than men on average.

Cathy O’Connor, chief executive officer of oOh!media and one of just 22% female CEOs in Australia, told Mediaweek oOh!’s WGEA results demonstrate the company’s great strides when it comes to pay equity.

O’Connor said that while the release of data is a “really positive step” in closing the pay gap for Australian companies, “there is always more that can be done” and that the company is “continually looking at ways to advance equity in all forms.”

“It can’t be set and forget. We constantly speak with our team and are continually looking at what more we can do to ensure greater equality and diversity across the business. Where there are opportunities to address issues around gender equality, we will.”

This follows the release of findings from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) – a statutory Australian Government agency – that publishes the gender pay gaps for every Australian employer with 100 or more employees, with the intention to close the gender pay gap.

Women make up 48% of oOh!media’s more than 800-strong workforce and 50% of senior leadership. The outdoor advertising and media company has an ambition for women to make up 50% of the total workforce by 2026.
O’Connor said: “It takes a lot for a business to achieve really, truly equal pay for men and women, and we’ve been working hard with a dedicated team and strategies in place for a number of years now.”
“Businesses can follow suit by conducting additional pay analyses, developing individual career paths for women and ensuring balance in succession planning for me and women. And really importantly, by supporting women when they return to the workplace after parental leave. We also do a lot of work to reduce bias and promote inclusion in the workplace.” 

O’Connor said that oOh! strives to maintain an industry-leading position in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).
Beyond closing the pay gap in the company, she said oOh! will continue to remain focussed on driving positive change for women and support its position on gender pay equity.
To address gender equity, oOh! has implemented several key initiatives, including the additional gender pay equity analysis for the Board, its sub-committees and CEO annually. The company has also put measures in place to reduce bias in performance reviews, promotion processes and recruitment.
oOh! has formed a gender equality DEI network led by Bel Harper, oOh!Media’s executive group director – product strategy and its network leadership team – is made up of male and female representation.

oOh!Media - Bel Harper

Bel Harper 

The is also in its third year as official Out of Home Media partner with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and have joined Pride in Diversity – a national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion specialising in workplace diversity, HR and organisational change.
Additionally, targeted individual development plans for women have been established and investment made in industry programs such as NGEN and Future Women, with a group of oOh! women participating in a year-long female development and professional networking program.
oOh! also offers competitive paid parental leave policies and incentives to retain and support the return of women to work; improved representation of women in people leadership roles and succession planning for senior positions; greater representation of women and their pay positioning in non-traditional roles; and flexible shift work arrangements for women in operations teams.
O’Connor said that one of the drivers of the positive result is oOh!’s salesforce, which is traditionally a male-led profession.
“We have strong female representation in this part of our business, and as someone who started and built their career in media sales, I understand there’s so much opportunity for women to grow and develop in this space. We have seen just how women are bringing in revenue and driving strong pay outcomes, and it is important for businesses to mentor and support this talent.”
Parental leave results for the WGEA reporting period of 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023 show an exceptional return to work rate of 100% for women in oOh! sales teams and a companywide rate of 99%.
O’Connor concluded: “The release of more detailed WGEA gender pay gap data at a company level represents a welcome addition to Australia’s reporting environment, marking an important milestone for Australian organisations in closing the pay gap for women.
“oOh! is committed to becoming a visible champion for gender equality and ensuring our workplace reflects the rich diversity of the communities in which we operate. While we have an inclusive culture that supports this, we recognise more can always be done to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion across all areas of our business.”

Top image: Cathy O’Connor

To Top