New research shows access to secure job opportunities unequal among culturally diverse communities

atWork Australia

Individuals who have migrated to Australia from other countries are less likely to be earning personal income1, while jobseekers from culturally diverse backgrounds are more likely to experience discrimination during the recruitment process, according to recent research.2

In the lead up to World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (21 May), leading employment organisation atWork Australia is raising awareness of the employment challenges faced by Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, focusing the conversation on the invaluable contributions they make to the workforce.

Culturally diverse workplaces present many benefits to individuals and employers. Research reports a 36% difference in profitability between companies with the most diverse leadership teams compared with the least diverse ones.3 However, the discrimination often faced by these communities while seeking work can limit their job opportunities.

atWork Australia provides an extensive range of support services for CALD clients, including in-house staff fluent in over 80 languages. This stems from the fact that over 37% of the combined workforce speaks another language other than English. Where atWork Australia does not have a team member fluent in the CALD language, interpreter services are outsourced. Services are also tailored for each individual client, allowing for the connection of suitable programs and support services.

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is not just about celebrating differences; it’s about recognising the immense value that diversity brings to workplaces and communities through diverse perspectives and skills.4

atWork Australia client Mohammad, aged 35 from Riverwood NSW, immigrated from Lebanon in 2018 with his young family, in pursuit of a better life. Despite his successful career in Lebanon working for the government in customer service roles and his eagerness to contribute to the workforce, Mohammad faced significant challenges when searching for employment.

Despite facing setbacks in every interview, particularly when asked ‘what is your experience in Australia?’, Mohammad managed to secure his first role at a local grocery store, only to have his employer take advantage of his working rights by paying him only $14 a day. It was after this experience that he found help with atWork Australia.

“I struggled to find a job that gave me the entitlements I deserve and that treated me like a human,” says Mohammad.

“It was disheartening to face rejection after rejection, and work in environments where I felt I was being used. Thankfully, from the support of my job coach, Amal from atWork Australia, I was able to navigate these challenges and finally secure a position where I could utilise my skills and which appreciated me as a person.”

atWork Australia provided Mohammad with tailored support, including assistance with his resume and cover letter, job search strategies and training opportunities. Most importantly, atWork Australia helped Mohammad find an employer who provided him his working entitlements, embraced his cultural differences and allowed him to make the most of his talents and experience.

With stable and supportive employment, Mohammad can now provide for his family in Australia, including his two young children aged 5 and 7. Organisations like atWork Australia provide a crucial service to people from CALD backgrounds by giving them the support they need to find work in Australia.

“atWork Australia proudly advocates for equal opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their background, and assists employers in fostering inclusive environments where everyone has the opportunity to thrive,” says atWork Australia Brand Ambassador Shaun Pianta.

1 People who have migrated to Australia are less likely to earn personal income (70%) compared to the rest of the population (76%)

/Public Release.