Research into the current state of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in Australia reveals only half of Human Resources (HR) professionals say they have observed their organisation’s leaders prioritising DEI in the workplace.
In a survey of 307 HR professionals, The Australian HR Institute (AHRI) shared that almost half of HR professionals (49%) surveyed said their organisation lacked focus on DEI, with DEI initiatives in Australia focused largely on gender disparity. Less emphasis is placed on under-represented groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people living with disability, LGBTQIA+ people, and those from lower socio-economic status households.1
The research also found:
- Only 17% of the survey respondents report they have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people represented in their organisation’s senior management.
- Only 16% of the survey respondents report they have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people represented on their organisation’s board.
- 76% of survey respondents say people who identify as having a disability or are neurodiverse are underrepresented in their organisation.
However, over three-quarters (84%) of HR professionals believe that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is either fairly important or very important to the future success of their organisation.1
William (Billy) is a 57 year-old, proud Kaniyang Elder from Western Australia who is one of the almost 11.6 million Australians living with a chronic health condition. After working in a number of casual positions, Billy sought support from atWork Australia’s Katanning office in January 2022, hoping to secure full time employment.
Billy had no significant work experience when he met with atWork Australia Job Coach, Chelsey, to develop a tailored plan and goals that reflected his interests and values. With Chelsey’s support to build his confidence and acknowledge his capabilities, Billy applied for a position at the local cultural and visitor centre.
“She was very supportive and encouraging. When I said I wanted to apply for the tour guide job, she told me to go for it. She even helped me pick out my work clothes and shoes for the job too,” said Billy.
Billy recently celebrated one year of employment as a Cultural Tour Guide for The Kodja Place & Kojonup Visitor Centre, a role in which Billy is able to do something special — teach people about his own culture.
“Having a job has made me more confident. I love meeting people from all walks of life. With this job I can now do the things I want to do in my life,” said Billy.
One of the most meaningful things his job has given him is the connection with his local community.
“I do these tours with young children too, and when I’m walking down the streets, I hear the children calling my name. So, I say to others, don’t give up – keep looking for employment. It doesn’t matter how old you are, don’t give up.”
atWork Australia’s role is to connect more people and businesses so both can thrive. The company works with clients to improve diversity and inclusion in Australian businesses, and find creative solutions so everyone can find employment that is right for them.