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The big benefits of creating meaningful employment pathways

By SEEK | |5 minute read

Instilling employment pathways is a win-win for businesses and employees. Here’s why you should make them a priority in your organisation.

Creating meaningful employment pathways is key to a more engaged, skilled, and loyal workforce.

Businesses that offer such pathways become more attractive to potential employees, and jobseekers are more likely to stay with companies that provide opportunities for growth, development, and career advancement.

Rolling out pathways to capture the extensive talent in the Australian market is a no-brainer for both Westpac Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), which have each rolled out their own programs to identify up-and-comers.

Westpac Group was recognised as having the Best Employer Brand Initiative at SEEK’s 2022 STAR Awards.

The group’s “Uncommon Minds” graduate program aims to attract outstanding graduates from non-business and finance disciplines.

“The whole point of Uncommon Minds is to try and turn our minds to those who may not typically think about applying to a bank – those from a STEM degree or an arts degree, for example,” graduate programs manager Natalie Gibbons explains.

To nurture the talent coming through the program, Westpac introduced non-rotational programs in specialised areas such as robotics, app development, digital, data, and cyber security, allowing graduates to make an immediate impact.

The campaign behind Uncommon Minds was centred on capturing uniqueness, Natalie says.

“We really needed to create a campaign that was as uncommon as the grads that we were trying to target. Of course, there were a lot of challenges in doing so. Hiring grads has become more competitive than ever before.

“We went against the grain of following a classic corporate-style campaign of saying how great the company is and how you can kickstart your career. With Uncommon Minds, the message here and the point of difference is that we are reminding each candidate of how they would be appreciated for their uniqueness, which is not typical from a campaign and particularly from a bank campaign,” Natalie says.

The campaign resulted in a 373 per cent outperformance of the engagement rate industry benchmark and a 62 per cent outperformance of the CTR industry benchmark. The tech intake increased by 68 per cent, putting the company on track for a 100 per cent YoY increase.

Meanwhile, CBA, which took out the Best Diversity, Equity and Inclusion title at the STAR Awards, was recognised for its Indigenous School-Based Traineeship (SBT) Program.

The program, which recently marked its 20-year anniversary, has become a critical pathway to meaningful employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, forming a core component of CBA’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

“This program is our longest and most successful pathway program across the group, demonstrating our commitment to Reconciliation. Its scale ensures that there are 70 carved roles available for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people each year,” Indigenous careers talent acquisition manager Violet Green says.

“There are no other programs or business units that utilise carved roles in this way or volume, nor for this age group.”

The two-year program is designed for Indigenous students in years 11 and 12, offering on-the-job experience and invaluable skills to prepare them for a career in financial services.

“Our overarching approach to Indigenous hiring is different from other competitors’ standard recruitment process because CBA proactively creates opportunities that would not otherwise exist, going above and beyond to improve representation of Australia’s First Nations peoples across the bank through a concierge-style and culturally appropriate candidate experience,” Violet says.

With 70 SBT places available annually across remote and urban locations, the program provides young Indigenous people with meaningful career pathways while also allowing them to remain on Country with their families.

The program has exceeded its benchmark of offering 70 traineeship positions annually, and since FY16, over 230 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander school students have commenced an SBT with the organisation, with a conversion rate of 37 per cent. In 2021, the conversion rate reached 65 per cent.

Nominations are now open for this year’s STAR Awards. To learn more about the awards, click here.

To check out STAR winners and finalists, click here.



Benefits include any additional incentives that encourage working a little bit more to obtain outcomes, foster a feeling of teamwork, or increase satisfaction at work. Small incentives may have a big impact on motivation. The advantages build on financial rewards to promote your business as a desirable employer.

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