Closing the Work Gap in Corporate Australia


Diversity Council Australia partnered with Reconciliation Australia and Lend Lease on new research called, Closing the Work Gap in Corporate Australia. Released on 18 March 2013, the research involved conducting interviews with Indigenous thought leaders, and engagement and employment practitioners and is a follow on to the Engaging Aboriginal Australians in the Private Sector research below.

The research explores Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on effective engagement with Indigenous communities by the private sector. It found that engagement had improved over the past five to ten years, but there remains a long way to go.

Key research findings:

  • Organisations need to take into account the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Too many key Indigenous engagement positions in the corporate sector are still being filled by non-Indigenous people.
  • Engagement with Indigenous communities doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time to build successful relationships and needs to be treated seriously and be given appropriate resources. Too often it is short term and project driven.
  • Organisations that fail to make their intentions clear to Indigenous communities can do significant damage to their reputation, and it can take years to rebuild trust.
  • Organisations still have work to do to create inclusive working environments where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel safe to identify as such.
  • Insufficient attention has been given to measuring the progress of engagement strategies and picking the right metrics to do this, for example sustainable careers versus short term appointments, and measures of respect.


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The suggested citation for this report is:

Diversity Council Australia (Constable, J., OLeary, J. and Roberts, A.) Closing the Work Gap in Corporate Australia: Indigenous Perspectives on Effective Engagement Between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities and the Private Sector, Sydney, Diversity Council Australia, 2013.

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