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At Work Australia’s Sotir Kondov. At Work Australia’s Sotir Kondov.
28 May 2021 Posted by 

The essential ‘D’ word bosses ignore: it’s time to embrace diversity

DALLAS SHERRINGHAM
THE ‘D Word’ is being increasingly heard in the Australian workplace, but not in the boss’s office according to a new report.
‘D’ stands for diversity, a word that is struggling to gain a place on the desks and computers of the nation’s business leaders.
 
Now, we all know Australian business leaders are most likely to be high-earning, full-time workers in senior management positions.
 
New research shows that this mirrors the demographics that are less likely to prioritise workplace diversity.
 
This highlights a missed opportunity for business leaders because by not prioritising inclusion, they narrow their talent pool and miss the business benefits of diverse workforces.
 
And importantly, that include people living with disability, Indigenous Australians and other minority or cultural groups.
 
The survey, undertaken for leading employment services provider atWork Australia by Newgate Research, revealed that around a quarter of all Australians would be comfortable to work at a business that is not inclusive of different people.
 
This group was more likely to include men at 35% compared to 18% of women.
 
However, for senior managers the figure shot up to 44%, compared to 22% of the general public.
 
This was highlighted at 31% where the household income was more than $100,000, compared to just 23% of lower income households.  
 
With many industries rebuilding, the time was right to redress the balance of workforce diversity, at Work Australia’s Sotir Kondov said.
 
Mr Kondov is At Work Australia’s Executive General Manager for Disability Employment Services. 
 
“Currently, 66%  of Australians are employed, however this figure drops to 48%  for those living with disability and 46.6%  for Indigenous Australians,” he said.
 
“Additionally, there are 1.5 million jobless families nationwide, which accounts for one in five families.  
 
“This year presents a unique opportunity to give everyone a fair go at employment, which starts with educating business leaders on the benefits of diverse teams.
 
“For example, industry research shows that employees living with disability generate less turnover and have superior attendance over their peers,” he said.
 
Refusing to work
 
The national survey of 1696 people asked respondents whether they were comfortable, uncomfortable or would refuse to work in a business that was not committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce.
 
Disturbingly, about one in five people within important working population groups were likely to be comfortable with no focus on diversity in the workplace, including:
 
The self-employed at 36% and office workers 30%. 
More than 35% of full-time workers and almost a fifth part-timers at 19%.
Nearly one in five or 19% of students 
 
The impressive At Work Australia is a leading supplier of Disability Employment Services in its 300 locations nationwide connecting businesses with people living with disability looking for work.
 
It further helps to provide companies with access to the full talent pool, including Jobactive, ParentsNext, and Indigenous Employment Services programs
 
To show what a good job does, in 2020 At Work Australia placed over 11,000 people looking for work from diverse backgrounds with more than 6700 businesses, including Australia Post, McDonalds, Sodexo and MSN Enterprises.
 
“Australia’s talent pool is rich with diverse perspectives, with one in five Australians living with a disability, injury or health condition, 3.3% coming from Indigenous communities and 3.2%  identifying as LGBT,” Mr Kondov said.
 
“Businesses have the chance to reap the benefits of creating an employment landscape that works for everyone,” he said.  
 
While diverse workplaces benefit minority groups, businesses also stand to gain with a recent study showing that companies which prioritise inclusion achieve an average of 28% higher revenue, 30% higher profit margins and double the net income.
 
Additionally, on average, they see staff retention go up by 90%, which allows them to focus on their business and not ‘revolving door’ recruitment.


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Publisher
Michael Walls
michael@accessnews.com.au
0407 783 413