Class at Work

Topics Inclusion
Class at Work  - Does social class make a difference in the land of fair go?

The research, based on a survey of more than 3,000 workers showed that for Australian workers it’s class more than any other diversity demographic investigated in DCA-Suncorp’s Inclusion@Work Index, that is the most strongly linked to workers’ experience of inclusion at work and one of the most strongly linked to exclusion.

Key findings

For a quick snapshot of the findings, watch the video.

Boosting Performance Through Class-Inclusion

Lower class workers who are in inclusive teams were:

  • 17 times more likely to be in a team that works effectively than lower class workers in a non-inclusive team (53% in inclusive teams compared to 3% in non-inclusive teams)
  • 15 times more likely to be in a team that is innovative (47% in inclusive teams compared to 3% in non-inclusive teams)
  • 10 times more likely to be in a team providing excellent customer service (65% in inclusive teams compared to 6% in non-inclusive teams)

Lower Class Workers Are Less Likely to Experience Inclusion

  • Fair Treatment. Only half of lower class workers indicated that they trusted their organisation to treat them fairly (53% strongly agree/agree), and this percentage was significantly lower than middle class workers (73% strongly agree/agree) and higher class workers (82% strongly agree/agree).
  • Opportunities. Lower class workers were less likely to report they felt they had the same opportunities as anyone else with their abilities and experience (55% strongly agree/agree) compared with middle class (73% agree/strongly agree) and higher class (82% agree/strongly agree).
  • Diverse Perspectives. Lower class workers were significantly less likely than middle class and higher class workers to report that their manager actively sought out diverse perspectives from all employees (46% versus middle class 64% and higher class 73%).

Lower class workers are more likely to experience exclusion

  • Discrimination/Harassment. More than two-fifths of lower class workers (43%) reported having personally experienced discrimination and/or harassment in the workplace in the last 12 months, compared to 26% of higher class workers.
  • Non-Inclusive Teams. 27% of lower class workers work in non-inclusive teams, compared to 10% of middle class workers, and 5% of higher class workers.
  • Being ignored. Lower class workers were more likely to report being ignored (17% strongly agree/agree) compared to middle class workers (6%) and higher class workers (7%).
  • Missing out on opportunities and privileges. Lower class workers were more likely to report missing out on opportunities and privileges (22% strongly agree/agree) compared to middle class workers (9%) and higher class workers (9%).
  • Left out of social gatherings. Lower class workers were more likely to report being left out of social gatherings (20% strongly agree/agree) compared to middle class workers (6%) and higher class workers (7%).

When Gender and Class Combine

  • Lower class women more excluded but more supportive of D&I. 45% of lower class women reported having experienced discrimination and/or harassment of some type in the past year, compared to 39% of lower class men, 24% (female) to 21% (male) of middle class workers, and 25% (female) to 27% (male) of higher class workers (note that the differences between middle class and higher class workers are not statistically significant). They were also among the most supportive of D&I, along with all other women (49% of lower, middle, and higher class females, compared to 37% of lower class males, 36% of middle class males, 45% of higher class males).
  • Lower class men less included, less supportive of D&I and in less D&I active organisations. Lower class men were among the least supportive of organisations taking action on D&I, and they were also the least likely to work in organisations taking action on D&I (43% of lower class males worked in D&I active organisation, compared to 50% of lower class females, 57% of middle class males and females, 65% of higher class males, and 62% of higher class females). In addition, lower class men were much less likely than other men, and all women, to report being in inclusive organisations and inclusive teams and to have an inclusive leader:
    • Inclusive organisations. 24% of lower class males were in inclusive organisations, compared to 32% of lower class females, 38% of middle class males, 41% middle of class females, and 46% of higher class males and females.
    • Inclusive teams. 32% of lower class males were in inclusive teams, compared to 36% of lower class females, 49% of middle class males, 51% of middle class females, 65% of higher class males, and 63% of higher class females.
    • Inclusive leaders. 19% of lower class males had inclusive leaders, compared to 30% of lower class females, 34% of middle class males, 37% of middle class females, 40% of higher class males, and 42% of higher class females.

Download the research

Download the Infographic or Download the Synopsis Report.

Want to use our research?

Materials contained in this document are © Copyright of DCA Ltd, 2020. If you wish to use any content contained in this report, please contact Diversity Council Australia Limited at research@dca.org.au, to seek its consent.

Where you wish to refer to our research publicly, it must be correctly attributed to DCA.

Formal attribution to DCA is required where references to DCA research material are in a written format. Citing DCA as a source will suffice where the reference is made in a verbal format.

Suggested citation: Diversity Council Australia (Brown, C., D’Almada-Remedios, R., Dunbar, K., O’Leary, J., Evans, O., and Rubin, M.) Class at Work: Does Social Class Make a Difference in the Land of the ‘Fair Go’?, Sydney, Diversity Council Australia, 2020.

 

DCA Members can also log in below to access the Full Research report. 

Watch the video below for a quick snapshot of the research findings.

The rest of this content is restricted to DCA members.