Buenos Aires, September 19 – Central Puerto S.A (“Central Puerto”) (NYSE: CEPU), the largest private sector power generation company in Argentina, as measured by generated power, was mentioned as a success case for its women empowerment initiative in the Interamerican Development Bank’s (IDB) 2018 annual report.
With the support and counsel from IDB, the company, which used to have a predominantly male work force, started to implement initiatives to have a more diverse work force. Despite the fact that the Company never did any discrimination based on gender, there were many areas to be developed in order to increase the women participation in the Company in order to increase women’s participation not only in administrative areas of the company, but also in operational and maintenance tasks, where male participation was traditionally higher.
In order to do this, the company used the Women Empowerment Principles (WEP) developed by IDB to identify potential improvement areas and received expert consultants’ guidance.
“The first thing was to work with our management team to reach consensus on the need to have gender policies and set ambitious but at the same time attainable goals”, said Jorge Rauber, Chief Executive Officer of Central Puerto.
Some of the measure implemented were:
• The creation of a Gender Committee with the cross-functional participation of employees and union representatives from different areas of the business, and coordination from Human Resources (HR), in order to develop the Gender Action Plan;
• The introduction of an internship program under which 6 female engineering students where hired, for the construction of the new wind farms and environmental areas;
• The emphasis in vacancy ads about the company’s gender equality promotion and explicitly highlighting from the beginning that female applicants were welcomed to participate in the selection processes;
• Women oriented benefits such as part time job after maternity leaves in order to help mothers to return to the job;
• The creation of an internal Mentorship Program not only to orientate the new hires, but also to facilitate women’s promotions, and exit interviews in order to explore leaving reasons;
• Training courses for all the staff.
These measures increased women’s participation in Central Puerto’s workforce. During 2018, the company received 6,450 Curriculum Vitae, from which 40% where form women applicants. However, from the 30 vacancies open, 60% of the new hires were women. This trend was maintained during the first half of 2019, when from 16 vacancies 50% were covered by women.
As Javier Torre, human resources manager of Central Puerto mentioned recently in his presentation during a seminar on business and gender diversity organized by the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) and IDB, “when the gender action plan begins, the feedback itself makes it sustainable over time, which helps to change the companies and the industry as a whole”.