At SA Power Networks, we believe in the power of possibility.

As Head of Human Resources at SA Power Networks, my team and I committed to better reflecting the community we represent and making our organisation a place where diversity and inclusion are simply ‘business as usual’.

SA Power Networks is South Australia’s sole electricity distributor, with a workforce of around 2,500 people at 38 locations across the state.

Nowhere in the world is the transition to a decarbonised electricity system being led so rapidly and directly by customers as it is in Australia, and South Australia is at the forefront through its rapid transition to a distributed energy system.

We’re making the future of energy possible, and to do this we need to apply new thinking to countless logistical, financial and technological changes on the horizon.

We know it’s our people, and their diverse perspective, who will achieve our vision.

Here, I’ll outline the important first steps we’ve taken to establish a dedicated focus on improving female representation at SA Power Networks, and how we are using these learnings to achieve future D&I priorities.

In 2014, female representation at SA Power Networks sat at only 10%. Today, we have a 19% representation of women in the workforce.

While we acknowledge there is a long way to go, we are celebrating this increase as an exciting step-change as our business continues to transform and respond to the rapidly changing industry landscape.

SA Power Networks is setting the ambitious target of doubling our female representation again, to 40% by 2035. Importantly, this goal will include every level of leadership.

Roadmap to 2035

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to establishing a Diversity & Inclusion strategy and targets, at SA Power Networks I believe the critical factors for our success has been focusing on:

2. CEO-led and business ownership to drive the changes

Our CEO is an Executive Sponsor of the D&I Committee and leads the conversation on setting ambitious targets and actions. This ensures the Executive Team is engaged and onboard to drive and embed actions within their functions.

“We are taking on the important mission to reflect the community we represent, making our organisation a place where diversity and inclusion are simply ‘business as usual’.” Rob Stobbe, CEO

We know D&I cannot be owned by one person or the sole-responsibility of the HR department; it must be integrated into our culture, processes, systems, leadership capabilities and employee education programs.

To achieve this, D&I is embedded within our People, Sustainability and Customer strategies and our department operational plans.

2. Strategic priorities and bite-size actions to focus change

We identify key pillars in our 2022-2025 D&I Strategy: ‘gender equity’, ‘reflecting our community’ and ‘respect’. Each pillar has 2022, 2025 and 2035 targets, along with underpinning action plans.

The action plans are important to break down our ambitious strategy and targets into more manageable, clear deliverables and priorities.

3. Insights to understand the challenges to success

We seek broad insights through internal and external stakeholder engagement and data-gathering.This broader input and socialisation identified challenges and opportunities, as well as established buy-in across the business, greatly improving the final D&I Strategy and action plan.

“When our people experience transparent fairness and a strong sense of belonging, and believe their differences are valued, we unlock the power of possibility.” Christelle Simpson, Head of HR

Where to from here? Our short term deliverables include:

● Cascading D&I priorities into individual performance objectives so Diversity & Inclusion aligns from our corporate strategies through to individual roles, ensuring everyone at every level knows how they contribute.

● Rolling out a multi-year education program to continue building awareness, removing bias and ensuring inclusive decision making throughout the employee lifecycle.

● Broadening our external reach at schools, universities and relevant clubs to promote our commitment to decarbonising the state and educate in how rewarding a trade, technical or professional career is at SA Power Networks for women.

● Strengthening our internal female talent pipeline through increased development programs and plans.

● Updating our documents to ensure Diversity & Inclusion is embedded in our systems, practices, language and tools.

When you first set out to establish ambitious D&I targets and identifying what is needed to achieve those, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the potential barriers.

Creating lasting change takes significant, business-wide effort over the long term – so many may ask, is it really worth it? 


Having now set our strategy and targets, we are now focused on delivering the short- and medium-term priorities to empower our people to lead South Australia’s energy future.

At SA Power Networks, we know when our people experience transparent fairness and a strong sense of belonging, and believe their differences are valued, we unlock the power of possibility.