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New Zealand leader to address the changing dynamics of the infrastructure industry


Designing the future: Aurecon's Tracey Ryan will lead Aurecon's New Zealand business as it responds to the changing dynamics of the infrastructure industry.

20 February 2020 – International engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon has appointed Tracey Ryan as Managing Director – New Zealand to lead a future ready workforce.

The infrastructure sector in New Zealand and around the world is undergoing significant change and Aurecon is proving itself an industry-leader in its adoption of SMART infrastructure, digital technology and gender equality that is transforming the industry.

At the helm of Aurecon’s Australia and New Zealand region and implementing both external and internal change is Chief Executive for Australia & New Zealand, Louise Adams who says digitisation and SMART infrastructure is changing the design and performance of assets and achieving business improvements and better outcomes for infrastructure.

Such is the speed of change, Aurecon expects half of its workforce to be devoted to digital work within two years (presently 9 per cent), which presents resourcing challenges for it and its competitors.

“As we approach a time of unprecedented change we need leaders that are able to lead diverse teams to transform workplaces and to lead a future ready workforce. I am delighted to welcome Tracey into our leadership team as the Managing Director for New Zealand,” says Adams.

“With a background based on business growth, leading enterprise-wide multi-disciplinary teams and creating inclusive and engaged cultures, Tracey has the expertise to take Aurecon’s New Zealand business to the next level.”

Designing the future

Aurecon is addressing the challenges of talent attraction and retention as there will be a requirement for new skills in the present dynamic environment and a need to be able to tap into 100 per cent of the available talent.

Introducing significant programmes to redress gender equity, Aurecon recognises that by increasing female participation, particularly at an executive level, increases the company’s capability and addresses some of the resourcing challenge of attracting and retaining talent as the company continues to grow.

In Australia, Aurecon achieved its national workforce target of 35 per cent women last year and have set a new 40 per cent target for 2021. In New Zealand, we achieved our 2021 target of 30 per cent in 2019 and the new 2021 target has now been reset to 38 per cent female employees.

A significant component is Aurecon’s leadership programme for women, Ascend (238 women completed the programme over two years, with 42 per cent promoted to more senior roles), and its flexible work and parental leave initiatives. Across Australia and New Zealand, 88 per cent of Aurecon’s female employees say they have the flexibility they need to manage work and life commitments; 91 per cent of male employees concur.

Aurecon’s Parental Leave Policy allows for 14 weeks paid leave and options to intersperse with days of work (three days’ leave and two work days, for instance) and 14 weeks of 150 per cent salary if an Aurecon employee takes unpaid leave (usually where another employer does not offer paid leave to the Aurecon employee’s partner).

Since this policy was introduced the proportion of paid parental leave taken by male New Zealand employees has increased from 0 per cent to 54 per cent (in Australia, increased from 7 per cent to 40 per cent), a significant change and one that is expected to deliver profound benefits to family dynamics. Its YesFlex policy normalises flexible working hours and makes it available to all employees, regardless of role, and helps support all workers’ dynamic and diverse family lives.

Ryan, who is also on the Board of Infrastructure New Zealand, says her ambition for Aurecon in New Zealand is to build on the culture of inclusiveness and innovation to drive real change and outcomes that address the big issues our clients are facing.

“I am a strong believer that society needs more humanity and how, as engineers, designers and advisors, we can help design future environments that best reflect our communities at the heart. Through user empathy and environmental sustainability, engineers, designers and advisors need to bring a core ethical approach to our clients’ challenges.”

Ryan has held senior leadership roles and directorships in several global professional services companies, including Beca, where she was the Transport and Infrastructure Clients and Markets Director, EY where she was Director for Sustainability and Climate Change, and ERM, where she was Managing Partner. 

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