A new study into the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Australia revealed that only 50 per cent of Human Resources (HR) professionals have observed their companies’ leaders prioritising DEI in the workplace.
Surveying 307 HR professionals, the Australian HR institute (AHRI) explained that almost half of HR professionals surveyed said that companies lacked focus on DEI, with DEI initiatives in Australia focused largely on gender disparity.
What they found is that less priority is given to under-represented groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people living with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ people, and people from lower socio-economic households.
The study found that only 17 per cent of the survey respondents reported that they have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the senior management of their organisation.
Additionally, only 16 per cent of those surveyed said they have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on their companies’ board of members.
Meanwhile, about 76 per cent of survey respondents said people with disabilities or are neurodiverse are underrepresented in their organisation.
Despite all these low numbers, about 84 per cent of HR professionals surveyed in the study believe that DEI is either fairly important or very important to the future success of their company.
William or Billy is a 57-year-old Kaniyang Elder from Western Australia who is one of the almost 11.6 million Australians living with a chronic health condition. Billy worked for a number of casual positions for a while, and then sought help from atWork Australia’s Katanning office in January 2022, in the hopes of securing full employment.
Billy had no significant work experience when he met up with atWork Australia job coach Chelsey to develop a plan and goals that reflected Billy’s values and interests. With the coach’s support to boost his confidence and acknowledge his capabilities, Billy applied for a position at the local visitor and cultural centre.
Billy said coach Chloe 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 his work anniversary at the Kodja Place and Kojonup Visitor Centre as a Cultural Tour Guide, a role in which Billy is able to do something special – teach people about his own culture as a Kaniyang Elder.
“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.
Billy said one of the best things about his job is that it has given him connection to the 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,” Billy said.