Our People

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To attract, develop and sustain organisational capability through our people


We strive towards:

  • demonstrating our values through our behaviours
  • creating a positive work environment that provides challenges and encourages development
  • focusing on solutions
  • engaging with our people
  • sustaining good workforce planning practices.
Key Performance Indicators
We exceeded our target in respect to women in leadership positions at Level 6 and above, and this has increased since 27 last year

We exceeded our target in respect to women in leadership positions at Level 6 and above, and this has increased since 27 last year

There was a high level of completion of Career Conversations coming in just under our target

There was a high level of completion of Career Conversations coming in just under our target

We exceeded our target in relation to the percentage of staff who have knowledge that innovation is part of our guiding principles

Looking Ahead

Projects and activities planned for next financial year, some of which have already commenced, include the following:

  • meeting the challenge of attracting and retaining appropriately skilled employees, particularly in regional areas
  • negotiating and implementing new Employee Bargaining Agreements
  • consolidating new maintenance contracts in Metropolitan, South West and Great Southern regions and working with the accompanying resourcing challenges
  • continuing a focus on increased Aboriginal employment and creating pathway programs beyond the traditional university stream
  • beginning a new blended learning approach which will improve understanding of our responsibilities and deliver learning across the agency in a more timely and effective way. The newly developed Learning Management System is to be implemented in July 2019
  • continuing workforce planning with a strong focus on providing the information to enable us to make strategic decisions for our future workforce.

Our Profile

Our workforce profile helps to illustrate who we are. As at 30 June 2019, we have 1,083 employees.

Demographics 2017 (%) 2018 (%) 2019 (%)
Female employees 31 31 31
Male employees 69 69 69
Indigenous Australian employees* 1 2 1
Employees with a disability* 2 3 3
Employees of culturally diverse background* 20 22 25
Employee age profile 2017 (%) 2018 (%) 2019 (%)
< 30 12 12 10
30-39 21 22 23
40-49 20 21 21
50-59 28 28 30
60+ 19 17 16
Regional profile (headcount) 2017 (%) 2018 (%) 2019 (%)
Great Southern 31 30 31
Goldfields-Esperance 15 21 21
Kimberley 30 29 30
Mid West-Gascoyne 45 44 44
Pilbara 24 33 28
South West 58 62 63
Wheatbelt 40 34 33
New starters Employees (headcount)
Number of new starters 55
New Starters by gender  
Female 22
Male 33
Turnover rate 4%
Turnover by gender (headcount)  
Female 19
Male 29

*Figures do not represent an accurate profile of our diversity, as the information is provided by self-declaration.


Developing Our People

Our people are the key to our success. Investing in them and their knowledge is essential to creating an organisation where people embrace and accept those who inspire and bring innovative ideas, skills and perspectives. We seek to ensure that the right people are attracted and retained within our business and grow and develop in ways that will help us to make the most of the opportunities that are facing our industry.

Learning Management System

In July 2019, we will be releasing a new corporate Learning Management System, called LearningHub. LearningHub is designed to be a ‘one stop shop’ for all training and development; that is, a centralised, easy-to-use portal to which all employees have access. It will enhance access to online learning for employees – offering a smoother process for registering for training and approvals; giving enhanced visibility to managers on training activities of their team; and providing compliance reporting capability at the fingertips of training coordinators.

Training Engaging Accountable Managers

Our tailored in-house management skills development program called TEAM (Training Engaging Accountable Managers) has continued over the last 12 months. The program empowers people managers to perform their role more effectively. It covers a wide range of topics including resource management, procurement and finance, conflict resolution, performance management and mental health in the workplace. In total 18 modules are available, offering a balance of internal and external experts, keynote sessions and coaching. TEAM has been popular with approximately 145 staff having completed individual modules identified as a development need or as refresher training.

Development Employee Programs

With a renewed focus on Development Employee Programs, the Human Resources team is reviewing pathway programs to align with our capability gaps and long-term workforce planning. Recruitment is planned ensuring a pipeline of capability is developed. We continue to focus on diversity through our recruitment efforts. We aim to exceed the current gender split of our Development Employees – 31 per cent female, 69 per cent male – as well as look at Aboriginal Pathway programs involving sponsorship at secondary and tertiary level.

Career Conversations

Our performance review process, Career Conversations, encourages open discussion between manager and employee on performance objectives, development opportunities, career goals and demonstrating our guiding principles in work activities. A streamlined form through MyHR focused participants on feedback, reflection and review. This year we had a 96 per cent completion rate for the initial Career Conversations and 89 per cent of mid-year reviews were carried out.

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Innovation and Research Program

The Innovation and Research Program encourages our people to collaborate, learn, solve problems and explore new and innovative opportunities. 

Our Bright Ideas software package helps us to foster a high level of engagement throughout the year as people can participate in specific corporate challenges or submit their own ideas on innovative approaches. 

Some of the activities and projects include:

  • improving road safety at signalised intersections
  • eradication of dieback from gravel pits
  • electric vehicle infrastructure strategic planning
  • using drones to capture traffic engineering data at signalised intersections
  • continued testing of cold applied plastic line marking
  • improving software used for water runoff catchment design
  • development of a prototype pointcloud visualisation tool
  • capturing, sharing and warehousing innovations from across the business.

Strategic Research

We undertake significant activity to develop and enhance our collective knowledge of economic, environmental and social topics. We do this through close collaboration and partnership with industry and research institutions undertaking leading-edge road and transport research. These organisations include:

  • Austroads
  • ARRB Group Ltd
  • WA Road Research and Innovation Program
  • Planning and Transport Research Centre
  • Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre
  • Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre.

We regularly conduct a ‘Futures’ review to identify new trends, technologies and business models from around the world that might affect the transport sector. This review is updated periodically to ensure currency and that we understand the global and local context in which we operate.

Employee Relations and Recruitment

Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining

Our employees are covered by enterprise bargaining agreements between the Commissioner of Main Roads and each of the unions. Negotiation and registration gives opportunities for key stakeholders to provide input into agreement provisions, in particular, recognising the needs of employees and our business. All employees are free to join unions and we recognise the integral role of unions in the agreement making process.

Labour Relations

After successful negotiation we registered three Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (AWU, APEA, CSA) with the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission in mid-2018. 

Negotiations will soon begin with the intent of registering the three new agreements in January 2020. Agreements continue to reflect our business requirements while recognising the needs of our employees.

Workforce Planning

Our workforce planning cycle has identified that attracting and retaining critical skills, particularly in regional areas, continues to be a significant challenge. Workforce planning has been focused on identifying and addressing key capability risks and gaps in core areas within a five-year forecast. It involves a comprehensive environmental scan of the organisation and considers current capability, succession planning, recruitment forecasting and other capability development and resourcing strategies.

Recruitment and Turnover

Activity over the past 12 months focused on Asset Management, Project Delivery, Maintenance Management, Network Operations, Traffic Management and specialised technical and engineering disciplines, in particular structures and materials engineering. 

We also focused on the re-introduction of our Development Employee Programs. Last year, there were 14 Development Employees, including graduate engineers, engineering associates and trainees commencing programs. 55 new starters joined the organisation throughout the year with 40 per cent being female. Our turnover remains relatively stable at 4 per cent.

Promoting Diversity and Equal Opportunity

We want to have a workforce that is rich, diverse and based on equality ensuring that we can all work in an environment that is free from harassment and discrimination. We want all of our employees to have access to training, progression and promotion. We firmly believe that a diverse workforce brings a greater range of skills, knowledge, experiences, backgrounds and capabilities into our organisation. This environment will lead to higher performing teams and better outcomes for our customers. The public sector has an obligation to engage people from diverse backgrounds, reflecting the broader community, however, we want to see and deliver more than just an obligation. An update on achievements in this area follows.

Equal Employment Opportunity Management Plan 2017–2020

Our Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Management Plan focuses on increasing the engagement and representation of:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • women
  • people with disabilities
  • youth
  • people from culturally diverse backgrounds
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ+).

Our Diversity Calendar notes dates and events of significance to our focus groups. These dates are highlighted and awareness raised through internal communications, information sessions by guest speakers and participation in community events and projects supporting these diversity groups.

Women in Leadership

As a business imperative, we recognise and value the role of women in the workforce and gender diversity at all levels of the organisation. We continue our focus on attracting, retaining and developing women in non-traditional roles and leadership positions. We recognise that women in positions instrumental to our future will lead to increasing numbers of women in leadership roles.

On International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, the theme ‘#BalanceForBetter’ was about motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

We promoted the day through both internal communications and by having four of our aspiring female leaders, nominated by Corporate Executive, attend a valuable networking event by Engineers Australia. This included a panel of industry leaders and keynote speaker Turia Pitt inspiring women with her life-changing events, personal journey, achievements and lessons learned.

  2017 (%) 2018 (%) 2019 (%)
Women in Level 6 and higher positions 19 21 27

Reconciliation Action Plan

Our Reconciliation Action Plan focuses on:

  • building stronger relationships with Aboriginal people and communities
  • creating greater understanding for ourselves and our partners of Aboriginal heritage and cultures
  • providing opportunities for Aboriginal people through our activities and our industry.

Some key workplace and employment achievements through our Reconciliation Action Plan have been:

  • working with Aboriginal people through employment and engagement opportunities specific to our road infrastructure industry
  • creating a more culturally safe environment through cultural awareness
  • participating in key events
  • trialling new eLearning
  • developing and adopting new Aboriginal protocols embodying respect, understanding and protection of cultural heritage.

In support of the Government’s Aboriginal participation policy, our Aboriginal Advisory and Working Groups have progressed in implementing Aboriginal engagement initiatives specific to procurement of goods and services from Aboriginal businesses and engagement of Aboriginal groups in design, construction and maintenance activities related to our road infrastructure projects. See ’Our Stories’ for more on Aboriginal Engagement.

Aboriginal Employment

We are delivering on our commitment to increase the direct employment of Aboriginal people through targeted recruitment for Aboriginal-specific positions. We are achieving this by working in partnership with Nudge, a for purpose charity that focuses on getting young people into jobs and training opportunities. We will be looking at other employment pathways for Aboriginal people as an even more targeted approach next year.

This year we have engaged the expertise of a Senior Advisor in Aboriginal Engagement who has played an integral role in helping us achieve the outcomes of our Strategic Business Case for Aboriginal Engagement. We have also engaged the expertise of an Indigenous Employment Officer to assist with the consultation and coordination of our next Reconciliation Action Plan 2020-22.

National Reconciliation Week

This week reflects on impacts of Australia’s colonial history and the importance of ongoing reconciliation. National Reconciliation Week theme was ‘Grounded in Truth, Walk Together With Courage’. The week was celebrated by:

  • sponsoring and participating in the launch of the 2019 Street Banner Project
  • participating in the Walk for Reconciliation 2019, a public show of leadership, support and solidarity to reconcile our state and promote equity
  • participating in the Breakfast held by Reconciliation WA along with our portfolio partners
  • promoting the event through articles on our internal communications
  • supporting the initiatives of Reconciliation WA.

National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week

We recognise the importance of engaging our staff to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during NAIDOC Week.

The 2018 theme was ‘Because of Her We Can’ which was a tribute to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have played, and continue to play, crucial roles in our history.

Our celebration included a metropolitan office based  event with a Welcome to Country and storytelling from Whadjuk Elder, Doolann Leisha Eatts. Her book Our Country, my Nyungah Home and husband Elder Walter Eatts’ book Somewhere Between Not White, Not Black, Not Wanted were promoted. This was followed by bush tucker inspired delicacies for afternoon tea sourced from Kuditj Kitchen, an Aboriginal-owned and locally based café. NAIDOC week raises the cultural awareness of our staff and also includes internal communications and articles on the meaning behind NAIDOC week and the celebration.

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