Benchmarking Diversity and Inclusion Practices in Australia

Topics Inclusion

Despite the well-known business benefits of D&I, many Australian organisations do not adequately resource their D&I function or put in place measureable goals or accountabilities for their D&I activities.

These are the findings of new research by The University of Sydney Business School Migrants@Work Research Group in collaboration with Macquarie University, the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) and DCA.

The results of the survey, Benchmarking Diversity and Inclusion Practices in Australia, has revealed that many Australian organisations fail to adopt “measureable goals or accountabilities” related to their diversity and inclusion policies.

In addition to measuring D&I resources, the researchers have also looked at what it takes to deliver effective D&I initiatives and established benchmarks allowing organisations to formulate their own their D&I management strategies. 

Key findings include:

  • 64% of D&I practitioners who report an adequate D&I budget said that their D&I initiatives were somewhat/very effective at improving business performance, compared to 39% of those with no D&I budget.
  • Almost 70% of those organisations that linked their managers’ performance to D&I outcomes said the policy resulted in improved business performance.
  • Over 90% of D&I practitioners said that they do their job because they believe in the business case for diversity.
  • 62% of practitioners reported that the most senior person with responsibility for the diversity function of their organisation was a member of the senior executive, such as the CEO/MD.
  • 78% of practitioners reported that their board members supported diversity initiatives within their organisation and over 80% reported that senior management also did.

However, it was also found that many D&I programs were under-resourced and many organisations were not adopting approaches to deliver the best outcomes. 

  • Budget: While nearly 62% of D&I practitioners reported they had a D&I budget, 39% reported that this budget was not sufficient to adequately fulfil their role. 38% of practitioners reported they had no D&I budget at all.
  • Managerial capability: Only 13% of D&I practitioners agreed/strongly agreed that managers in their organisation had adequate skills to deal with equality issues.
  • Missing diversity dimensions: Less than a third (31%) of organisations reported that they address the needs of a culturally diverse workforce.
  • Monitoring: Only 41% of D&I practitioners reported that their organisations measured the outcomes of their D&I initiatives.
  • Recognition & reward of D&I practitioners: Only 11% and 17% respectively are extremely satisfied with their opportunity for promotion, and with recognition of their work.

Benchmarking Diversity and Inclusion Practices in Australia was undertaken by the University of Sydney Business School’s Migrants@Work Research Group in collaboration with Macquarie University, the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) and Diversity Council Australia (DCA).