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43% of Aussie employees have female line manager, Hays reveals

Research has sought to ‘diversify diversity’ to expose the key diversity and inclusion considerations impacting the careers of underrepresented demographic groups in Australia and New Zealand.

The survey of over 1,000 people by Hays for its FY 2018-19 Diversity & Inclusion Report shows a shortage of diverse role models, organisational cultures that do not always support diversity and inclusion, perceptions of unfair barriers to career progression and mental health issues.

Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, said, “Our findings reveal some encouraging signs of progress, but the overall picture tells us we need to accelerate the pace of change to achieve genuine workplace diversity and inclusion.”

42% of respondents said their line manager is female, up from 39% in 2017. Yet few respondents have a line manager who is of BAME heritage (6%), identifies as LGBTIQ+ (2%), is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (1%), is Maori (1%) or who lives with a disclosed disability (1%). This is significant when 50% of survey respondents said their organisation’s leaders have a bias towards people who look, think or act like them. Meanwhile, only 46% of survey respondents overall trust their organisations’ leaders (senior manager level and above) to deliver change on the diversity and inclusion agenda.

Just two in five (38%) survey respondents said their employer takes every opportunity to create a workplace culture that is more diverse and inclusive. Furthermore, while an inclusive culture is supported through diversity training for people managers, only 34% of respondents said people managers are given training to help them ensure diversity and inclusion support. Diversity training is lowest in two particular demographic areas: Mature-age (32%) and people of BAME heritage (31%).

83% of respondents living with a disclosed disability, 77% of women, 67% of those who identify LGBTIQ+ and 64% of mature-age people say their chances for career progression have been limited because of their disability, gender, sexual orientation or age. Less than one-quarter (24%) feel their organisation actively works to develop under-represented groups into leadership roles.

Meanwhile, when considering career management and people’s ability to maintain their professional and personal responsibilities, access to flexible working is an important factor. Yet it was telling that only one half (52%) of survey respondents said their organisation actively promotes flexible and agile working as the default working practise and supports it overtly.

Almost four in five (78%) said they were aware of mental health considerations in their current or previous workplace. Several demographic groups were more likely to have observed such issues: 81% of women (compared to 74% of men), and 92% of both people living with a disclosed disability and those who identify as LGBTIQ+.

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