Our People


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, however it was a slight decrease since last year

We exceeded our target in respect to women in leadership positions at Level 6 and above, however it was a slight decrease since last year

There was a high level of completion of Career Conversations coming in under our target but remains consistent with previous years

There was a high level of completion of Career Conversations coming in under our target but remains consistent with previous years

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
  • improving our recruitment strategy to better position us in the recruitment market
  • developing and commencing the Regional Engineering Associate Traineeship Program in order to help build a sustainable workforce in the regions
  • continuing a focus on increased Aboriginal employment and creating pathway programs beyond the traditional university stream
  • 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 2020, we have 1,140 employees.

Demographics 2018 (%) 2019 (%) 2020 (%)

Female employees




Male employees




Indigenous Australian employees*




Employees with a disability*




Employees of culturally diverse background*




* This information is provided by self-declaration.

Employee age profile 2018 (%) 2019 (%) 2020 (%)





















Regional profile (headcount)




Great Southern












Mid West – Gascoyne








South West








New starters (headcount) Employees

Number of new starters


New starters by gender






Turnover 2018 (%) 2019 (%) 2020 (%)

Turnover rate




Turnover by gender










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

LearningHub, our corporate learning management system, was launched in July 2019 and has become the central hub for all training activities. With the system now in place, development of e-learning content is underway to support employees and contractors in the work they do. A comprehensive suite of modules will be delivered in safety, health and wellbeing; environment; and the WA Heavy Vehicle Accreditation scheme. A seamless approach to corporate and local inductions is also a focus.

Development Employee Programs

With our strong commitment for a sustainable future workforce, we have revitalised our employer brand and increased awareness of our development employee pathways during the recruitment and selection of Graduate Engineers and Engineering Associates for our 2020 Development Employee Programs. Last year we welcomed 12 cadets and 12 graduates to our programs, bringing our total numbers to 45 with a gender split of 22 per cent female, 78 per cent male. Increasing female and Aboriginal participation will be an area of focus for future recruitment to the programs.

To view a video about our development employee pathways see here.

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 88 per cent of mid-year reviews were carried out.

Connecting People with Culture and Country

Connecting People with Culture and Country is an experiential cultural awareness program developed in consultation with Main Roads staff and local Aboriginal Traditional Owners and advisors. The program aims to:

  • increase understanding of the purpose and significance behind cultural protocols
  • ensure Main Roads employees have an opportunity for cultural knowledge sharing
  • educate for a better understanding of Aboriginal peoples
  • ensure positive engagement between cultures
  • engage methods of fruitful dialogue and beneficial practices to move past racism
  • nurture strong ideas of the collective human family and working positively together on core issues
  • increase understanding of how Main Roads’ work could potentially impact Aboriginal peoples.

Main Roads in partnership with Sister Kate’s has committed to run 44 sessions of this program for metropolitan based staff before September 2020. Plans are in place to work with local Aboriginal people in the regions to deliver a similar program. At the time of preparing this report, more than 400 metropolitan staff had undertaken the awareness training.

Strategic Research and Innovation

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:

We also have an internal Innovation and Research Program that encourages our people to collaborate, learn, solve problems and explore new and innovative opportunities. This allows us to solve real business problems or explore new opportunities in conjunction with the organisations listed above as well as universities, Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) and the private sector.

During the year, 10 new projects were approved and we had 16 active projects, with another four approved but yet to commence. Our new projects have a variety of topics and scope, including:

  • investigating ways of reducing heat in electrical cabinets
  • exploring advancements in traffic modelling
  • looking at alternatives for detecting asset condition on Principal Shared Paths
  • testing an alternative methodology for monitoring the health of timber bridges
  • treatment of road building materials to eradicate the biological pathogen Dieback.

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.

Employee Relations and Recruitment

Workforce Planning

Attracting and retaining critical skills, particularly in regional areas, continues to be a significant challenge. Workforce planning has 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 Regional Development

To ensure we build a sustainable workforce we have prioritised the need to create a Regional Engineering Associate Traineeship Program to address our long-term business and critical resourcing issues. A two-year entry-level program will provide growth, flexibility and stability in the technical functions that our regions need. Trainees will complete a Diploma of Civil and Structural Engineering at the end of the traineeship, and will have ongoing work and career growth within the region. We are aiming to attract local residents into the traineeships with the aim of achieving a higher retention rate – our hope is that by recruiting from the region it will encourage people to stay in the region.

To see what it's like working in the regions watch this video.

Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining

We promote the benefits of collective bargaining in the workplace by ensuring unions have access to the workplace, consistent with legislative requirements, and inviting unions to participate in our induction processes. Our intranet also contains contact information for unions and the names of workplace union representatives.

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.

We have regular Joint Consultative Committee meetings and have built relationships with unions representing employees of our service providers, leading to discussions and outcomes on issues for all parties.

We have commenced including industrial relations objectives in a select number of contracts with our private sector service providers. These objectives prescribe that wages and conditions are derived from genuine collective agreement processes and recognises the choice for employees to act collectively and participate in employee organisations.

Labour Relations

Our proactive approach to conflict resolution has meant, with the exception of one matter settled through mediation, labour relations issues have not progressed beyond the workplace to the relevant tribunal or other external body.

We have managed issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic in a measured and appropriate manner with little disruption to the business and employees.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Promoting Diversity and Equal Opportunity

We are committed to fostering diversity and inclusion at all levels of our business because we recognise that a diverse workforce is integral to our success in providing safe and efficient road access that will enhance community lifestyles and ensure economic prosperity.

We value the unique blend of knowledge, skills and perspectives people bring to the workplace; this includes characteristics such as cultural background and ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, language and education. Diversity also includes professional skills, working style, location, and life experiences.

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

Equal employment opportunity training is compulsory for new starters. Employees also have access to the Diverse WA, a cultural competency online training package. In addition, information on unconscious bias and inclusion in the workplace is readily available on our intranet page.

Equal Employment Opportunity Management Plan 2020-23

We support the Western Australian government initiative that aims to increase the diversity of our workforce across the state.

To assist with identifying barriers and creating a diverse, inclusive workplace, an equal employment opportunity (EEO) survey conducted during April 2020 highlighted priorities and areas for improvement, such as:

  • improving our equity and diversity content on iRoads intranet page
  • reviewing the support needed to achieve work-life balance
  • communicating policies via e-learning and video
  • reviewing and promoting gender balance at senior management and executive level
  • reducing discrimination and boosting cultural security
  • creating more awareness on customs and cultures of other countries
  • promoting Main Roads’ grievance process
  • reviewing our recruitment process and practices.

We used this information to inform the creation of our 2020-23 Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Management Plan that focuses on priorities to increase 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+).

Women in Leadership

As a business imperative, we recognise and value the role of women and gender diversity in the workforce 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.

Main Roads celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting a morning tea and welcoming a guest speaking on resilience and mental wellbeing for women in the workplace. This speaker focused on optimising performance for organisations, teams and individuals and stress management and what women can do to help themselves and each other in the workplace.

In addition, we partnered with our portfolio colleagues to collaborate with the National Association of Women in Construction. As a partner, we participate and contribute to events that encourage diversity in the construction industry. This partnership supports women within our work environment and allows for networking across the industry.

Five aspiring female employees in leadership roles attended the Women in Leadership Summit in December 2019. The Women Leaders Institute seeks to inspire action and drive change for aspiring and established women leaders through business empowerment, leadership and career advancement.

  2018 (%) 2019 (%) 2020 (%)

Women in Level 6 and higher level positions (permanent)




Reconciliation Action Plan 2020-23

Based on the reporting outcomes of our last ‘Innovate RAP’ (Reconciliation Action Plan), we committed to develop a Stretch RAP focusing on implementing longer-term strategies and working towards defined measurable targets and goals.

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, as well as engagement of Aboriginal groups in design, construction and maintenance activities related to our road infrastructure projects.

In 2019, we appointed an Aboriginal Engagement Advisor who is integral in helping us achieve the outcomes of our Strategic Business Case for Aboriginal Engagement.

In early 2020, we also appointed an Aboriginal Employment and Diversity Advisor to support the development and delivery of the RAP and facilitate various Aboriginal and diversity employment initiatives.

Aboriginal Employment

We are committed to increasing employment of Aboriginal peoples in our workforce.

Our Aboriginal Employment and Retention Strategy 2020-23 aims to:

  • build a culturally inclusive and competent workplace
  • generate more employment pathways and opportunities for Aboriginal people across our organisation
  • create a supportive work environment that helps develop and retain our Aboriginal staff
  • ensure directorate workforce planning allows for progression of Aboriginal staff
  • improve accountability measures and reporting on this strategy
  • support our Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan 2020-23
  • support our Aboriginal Participation Framework.

The strategy guides our commitment to establish a foundation and attract, appoint and advance Aboriginal staff through creating a range of entry points, employment pathways and supporting them through learning and development opportunities. The strategy will contribute towards achieving our aim of creating a workplace where Aboriginal cultures and histories are embraced, respected, and full participation in our workforce and supply chain is commonplace.

National Reconciliation Week 2020 – ‘In this together’

National Reconciliation Week this year marked the twentieth anniversary of the Walks for Reconciliation, when people came together to walk on bridges and roads across the nation and show their support for a more reconciled Australia.

In support of National Reconciliation Week 2020, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff shared their reflections on what reconciliation means to them. This provided an opportunity for our people to share reconciliation stories.


During National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee week, we celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples each year. This year we celebrated with a special performance of storytelling and song performed in Noongar, the language of the traditional owners of the South West of Western Australia.

‘Voice. Treaty. Truth.’ – the 2019 NAIDOC week theme embodies the three key elements of the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a statement representing the unified position and voice of First Nations peoples. An event was hosted at the Don Aitken Centre, which included:

  • a Welcome to Country by Traditional Whadjuk Elder, May McGuire, in Noongar Language
  • our Managing Director speaking about Aboriginal people’s regional participation and engagement in Main Roads as well as project achievements
  • a live performance of storytelling and song by Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse – ‘Kalyakoorl. Ngalak Warangka’ (Forever, We Sing) performed in Noongar language.

This raised awareness of Aboriginal Indigenous language used to pass down lore, culture and knowledge to future generations through song around the four principles: Koort (Heart), Moort (Family), Boodja (Land) and Koorlangka (Children/Legacy).

Bulldozer working on a dirt road Read the story

Our People

Award Winning Kimberley Region Projects