Our people
Our stakeholders
At a glance FY2009 FY2008
FTE employees 14,766 15,928
Joint venture employees ~3,000 ~3,400
FTE contractors ~5,700 ~7,0001
Staff turnover 24% 24%2
Absenteeism (Australia) 3.5% 2.3%
LTIFR for employees 1.8 2.5
Percentage hours lost for employees 0.06 0.08
LTIFR for contractors 2.4 5.7
Percentage hours lost for contractors 0.03 0.09

This year, we faced an extremely difficult economic climate, particularly in the USA. To improve the long-term sustainability of Boral and to manage costs, some tough decisions were made. We reduced employment levels, overtime and contractor labour, and implemented salary and wage restraint measures for senior executives and around 4,500 salaried staff in Australia and the USA.

Providing a healthy and safe work environment is one of our key HR priorities, as evidenced by our ambitious safety targets. Tragically, we had a fatality during the year, which is reported in more detail here.
We are pleased, however, to have again exceeded our overall lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) and percentage hours lost continual improvement targets for employees and contractors, which reflects our commitment and focus on safety management.

Employees by region

Employment type
Age profile of Boral's employees

Our workforce
As at 30 June 2009, Boral had 14,766 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and around 5,700 FTE contractors working in Boral's operations. A further 3,000 or so employees were working in Boral's joint venture operations globally.

The number of FTE employees reduced by 7% during the year, with a significant 28% decline in the USA. In Australia, employee numbers were down by 5% and in Asia employment levels were down 1%. The reduction in Boral's workforce, particularly in the USA, is an outcome of the economic downturn, which has resulted in most of Boral's plants running well below capacity, with temporary plant shutdowns and the mothballing of some operations.

Across most operations, we used less contractors due to the market downturn. The estimated number of FTE contractors was down by 18% overall and 67% in the USA in 2008/09. Boral engages contractors in a range of activities including transport, maintenance, roof tiling, plasterboard installations, concrete placement and various professional services such as finance and information technology.

Absenteeism for Boral's Australian operations increased to 3.5% in 2008/09, up from 2.3% last year.

Turnover in Australia by age
Length of service of Boral's employees

Employee turnover
Employee turnover in Australia was 20% in 2008/09, down from 23% last year. In 2007/08, the high turnover reflected very tight labour markets, in Western Australia and Queensland. In 2008/09, however, the turnover reflected the reduction in the workforce due to the housing downturn.

Staff turnover in the USA was 60% in 2008/09, up from 37%3 last year, reflecting the protracted US housing downturn. In Asia, turnover was 18%, down from 20% last year.

The average length of service of employees in Australia increased to 8.4 years, from 7.8 years last year. In the USA, average length of service increased to 11.1 from 10.2, while in Asia, average length of service increased from 4.6 to 4.8 years. The proportion of all Boral employees with 11 or more years of service was 27%, up from 26% last year.

Employees by occupation

Boral's Diversity Policy outlines our commitment to operating in a manner that respects differences among employees, customers and communities. Diversity is the variety of skills, abilities, experiences and cultural backgrounds that enables people to achieve superior business and personal results. Diversity brings many benefits; we are increasingly encouraging greater diversity within our workplaces.

For the second year in succession, Boral has been recognised as an Employer of Choice for Women. This award has been made by the Federal Government's Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, which monitors how employers manage their female workforce. The award recognises Boral's initiatives to create equity for women and, among other things, that its recruitment and promotion processes are merit-based and transparent.

Women represent 13% of Boral's employees at 30 June 2009, which is consistent with our industry sector, and is in line with last year. The proportion of female employees varies significantly by occupation. Women occupy 68% of clerical positions and 32% of sales positions. In contrast, men account for 98% of Boral's trade and plant/transport roles. Women occupy 9% of Boral's management positions, which is consistent with last year, but is significantly higher than the industry average of 6.5%.

The overall pay gap between males and females is 2.5%, which is significantly less than the industry average of 15.7%.

Some of Boral's initiatives aimed at attracting and retaining women include: Boral's parental policy, the "Springboard for Women" training program and Boral's new Care for Kids program.


Indigenous employment
Boral has had an Indigenous Employment Strategy since 2003 as part of our commitment to the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In partnership with the Federal Government's Corporate Leader Program, and managed by Boral's Indigenous Employment Coordinator, this strategy has seen a continual increase in the number of Indigenous people applying for and being successful in obtaining jobs with Boral. Boral employed 46 Indigenous people under its most recent Structured Training and Employment Program (STEP) which is in place with the Federal Government (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations).

Boral supports the NSW Government's Aboriginal Job Compacts, which are aiming to improve employment outcomes for Indigenous people in Dubbo, Tweed Heads, South Western Sydney, Eastern Sydney and Western Sydney. As part of this strategy, Boral is committed to better connecting with local Aboriginal communities, schools and TAFE Colleges to assist in improving community awareness of local employment opportunities.

Boral also works extensively on the retention and career development of Indigenous staff through Aboriginal Cross Cultural Training, establishment of a mentoring program for Indigenous staff and better community relations with their local Indigenous communities. This year, Boral sponsored two Outward Bound Aboriginal Leadership Programs for Indigenous youth in Western Sydney and in Kempsey; 30 young Indigenous people completed the programs.

Personal development and training
An important part of Boral's people strategy is to ensure that our people have the right skills and capabilities to perform their jobs effectively and develop their careers. Providing appropriate training and development is a key component in achieving this strategy, as well as maximising workforce satisfaction, productivity and retention.

We use a range of methods to train and develop our people, spanning from on-the-job training through to leadership development programs. In general, on-the-job training and competency-based training for operational and frontline employees as well as contractors is managed within Boral's divisions. Boral's Organisational Development team provides learning, direction and support for the development of managers and future leaders through Learning at Boral (L@B).

Number of staff participants in Boral's leadership development programs in 2008/09

During 2008/09, 1,691 employees participated in a range of training programs offered through Boral's global learning teams. 449 employees in Australia, Asia and the USA participated in Boral's leadership development programs.

Boral developed a formal Asia People Development Plan in 2007 to attract, develop and retain local people, identify future leaders and enhance management talent. In 2008/09, extensive work was undertaken across Boral's Asian operations and in the Lafarge Boral Gypsum Asia joint venture to train more than 50 facilitators to deliver supervisory, safety and middle management training in their local languages.

Safety training is conducted by all of Boral's businesses and is complemented by Boral's centrally administered leadership program, Leading Health and Safety. This program focuses on safety culture and leadership. A total of 257 Boral employees participated in this program in 2008/09.

Registered training organisation
Boral's Australian Construction Materials division operates a registered training organisation (RTO). Boral's RTO uses the national training system, including competency standards and qualifications, to establish rigorous performance benchmarks for operator and some frontline, supervisor and management roles.

During 2008/09, 378 statements of attainment and 75 certificates at levels II, III, IV and V under the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) were issued through Boral's RTO. A large number of employees undertake structured training on modules under the AQTF relevant to their work, but do not go on to complete a full certificate program. In addition to promoting entry level employment and up-skilling in non-salaried roles, Boral has an extensive number of registered traineeships in place, including 211 in Australian Construction Materials.


Employee engagement
Boral conducts independent employee satisfaction surveys on a regular basis. The results of these surveys allow us to identify and address areas that require attention in working towards our goal of maximising workforce satisfaction, productivity and retention.

Results from Boral's employee engagement surveys

In 2008/09, employee surveys were conducted in several of the business groups in Australia. A total of 1,620 employees responded, representing a 66% response rate (76% in 2007/08). The survey results indicate that our employees in Australia continue to be highly engaged and satisfied with working at Boral. 92% of Australian employees were engaged compared to 91% last year, with 49% of employees highly engaged compared to 43% last year.

The survey results indicate that there have been improvements in regard to fair pay and maintenance of workplace and equipment. Nevertheless, key issues which affect employee engagement that require ongoing attention include: fair pay, work/life balance, training and coaching, resourcing, inclusive leadership style, communicating and involving employees in decisions, recognising good work and having a clear direction within Boral. These issues are indicative of the needs of our increasing numbers of Generations X and Y employees. Feedback sessions take place with our employees at a local level to discuss the survey results and likely actions in key areas.

In Asia, we engage with employees directly through a number of communication channels that promote two-way exchange of information. In Thailand Concrete & Quarries, for example, a number of measures were implemented in 2008/09 to improve employee engagement and hence morale as part of a broader business improvement plan. These initiatives included: a new vision for the business, improved communication initiatives for employees, and a new bonus scheme and objectives. Anecdotal evidence indicates that employee morale continues to improve.


Employee relations
This year saw further substantial change to the Australian workplace relations legislative framework, with the introduction of the Fair Work Act. This required a broad-ranging education program for key functional staff and line management and the introduction of new materials and tools to support the business. In addition to this in-house activity, Boral took a lead role for many building and construction materials industry groups in the award modernisation process.

Boral is working to understand the new legislative framework to ensure that we continue to achieve key business outcomes while maintaining our underlying employee relations strategy, based on engaging directly with our employees.

All of Boral's Australian non-salaried employees work under registered industrial instruments. Some 104 collective enterprise agreements operate in Australia, supplemented by a diminishing number of individual agreements, Australian Workplace Agreements and Individual Transitional Employment Agreements.

We estimate from our records of union payroll deductions that in Australia 37% of our non-salaried employees are financial members of a trade union and in the USA 11% of Boral's employees are members of a trade union.

Celebrating our sustainability successes

Celebrating our sustainability successes

Celebrating and communicating sustainability success is important for employee engagement and morale, as well as continuing to raise employee and contractor awareness of sustainability issues and initiatives.

Internally, the annual Boral Awards for Excellence recognise and celebrate the best achievements across Boral's businesses. Categories include: Safety, Environment and Community Relations, Innovation and People Practices. The Boral Awards for Excellence finalists and winners are also recognised through Boral in the News, which is distributed quarterly to employees, and available for external stakeholders via Boral's website. For a listing of the 2009 finalists and winners, refer to www.boral.com.au/sustainability.

Externally, during 2008/09 Boral was:

  • awarded Employer of Choice for Women status for the second year in succession by the Federal Government's Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (more);
  • included in the Carbon Disclosure Project Climate Leadership Index (Aus-NZ) for the fourth successive year;
  • awarded a Gold Star rating in the Corporate Responsibility Index (CRI), ranking second out of the 35 participating organisations, and invited to join the CRI Leaders Network; and
  • included in the Ethical Investor 50 by Corporate Monitor.

In September 2009 Boral was selected as a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific Index.

Managing and rewarding our people
Boral's remuneration practices are designed to be market-competitive to help us attract and retain the best people. We use variable at-risk remuneration to reward good performance and motivate employees to meet and exceed targets.

Of Boral's Australian workforce, about 59% work under an enterprise or industrial agreement, which generally involves hourly rates of remuneration and in some cases a productivity bonus; 34% are in salaried staff positions with an annual bonus linked to individual performance; and 7% are in management positions (including senior executives) which involve an annual short-term incentive tied to individual performance objectives and financial performance of the business. Details of Boral's remuneration policy and structure for executives, is included in the Remuneration Report section of the 2009 Annual Review.

Performance reviews are carried out annually for salaried and management staff (39% of all Australian employees in 2008/09) as part of our annual remuneration reviews. Performance reviews consist of a formal two-step performance management process, incorporating identification of individual development needs, and assessing performance against pre-agreed individual objectives.

A formal succession planning process focused on managerial positions is conducted on an annual basis. This enables us to identify talent and future leaders and develop our leaders through aligning individual development plans with participation in Boral's Leadership Development programs and providing opportunities for internal promotion.

Work/life balance
Boral strives to support employees and families and encourage a greater focus on work/life balance. To facilitate this, flexible working arrangements are increasingly being adopted by Boral's businesses. Often these arrangements have been created due to maternity leave, return to work, breastfeeding, work location, semi-retirement and special circumstances relating to a sick employee or family member.

In Australia, Boral provides eight weeks paid maternity leave and one week paid paternity leave. Boral has also recently introduced the Boral Care for Kids program to help employees find appropriate child care.

Boral Care for Kids program
Boral Care for Kids program
In July 2009, Boral launched a new child care initiative - the Boral Care for Kids program. The program taps into Australia's most comprehensive online child care resource, providing parents with up-to-date information on child care. It brings together all the pieces of the child care puzzle to make it faster and simpler for families to match their children's needs with the right child care.
Employees taking parental leave

Boral's community partnership programs are designed to allow employees to combine community-giving activities with their work schedules and with their family life. Through our community partnership programs, employees have access to family zoo passes for complimentary entry to Taronga and Western Plains Zoos and discounted tickets for partner events. Through our partnership with Outward Bound Australia, Boral funded 20 Family Re-Discovery scholarships in 2008/09 to employees with a high school, aged son or daughter.

In the USA, Boral provides six Educational Scholarships of US$4,000 per year for four years towards the college tuition fees for children of employees.

Boral's employees in Australia also have access to the BWell program and BEAP (a counselling service for employees and their families). Further information on these programs is included here.

1 Reported as ~5,700 in Boral's 2008 Sustainability Report and has been revised to ~ 7,000 due to enhanced data collection.
2 Reported as 23% in Boral's 2008 Sustainability Report and has been revised to 24% due to reclassification of USA data.
3 Reported as 29% in Boral's 2008 Sustainability Report and has been restated to 37% due to reclassification of USA data.