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D&I in Australian businesses: There’s still work to do

By Shandel McAuliffe | |6 minute read

Just 10 per cent of organisations have adopted a “flexible hiring process” according to new research.

Are We There Yet? The state of Diversity and Inclusion in Australian workplaces, a new report by WithYouWithMe (WYWM), delves into the current state of D&I primarily as it relates to recruitment in the Australian marketplace.

The report states: “Only one in ten (10%) of managers say their organisations have a flexible hiring process that can be adapted to the position and candidates that apply.”


According to the 500 plus managers in Australia who were surveyed, in addition to the stat above regarding flexible hiring processes, some other key findings which show room for improvement include:

  • There’s no formal written D&I policy for 25 per cent of businesses.
  • Diversity isn’t measured in a meaningful way at 30 per cent of businesses.
  • Blind resumes are used all the time by 41 per cent of organisations, and frequently by 22 per cent
  • Training for unconscious bias is given at 21 per cent of organisations.
  • Traditional hiring methods are used at 92 per cent of companies.

The survey did indicate some areas where Australian businesses are doing well, including the following:

  • Accommodations are being attempted for candidates (at interview) by 82 per cent of companies.
  • Mandatory training on inclusion when hiring is happening at 71 per cent of businesses.
  • Special assistance is provided to applicants at 86 per cent of businesses, and if the candidate says yes, contact is made by 80 per cent of businesses to help the applicant directly.

WYWM’s chief technology officer, Scarlett McDermott, commented when the findings were released: “Diversity and inclusion are critical in building an engaged workforce that is more productive and innovative, and less likely to leave.”

She continued: “While much headway has been made by businesses and government agencies, there is still significant room for improvement in hiring practices and opportunities for workplaces to institute modest changes that will have a significant impact on making their workplaces welcoming for more people.”

The Missing Link’s SOC manager, Nick Forster, revealed to HR Leader how WYWM worked with them on a recruitment drive.

Mr Forster said: “The Missing Link partnered with WithYouWithMe (WYWM) in 2020 to help us embark on a focused period of growth of our Security Operations Centre team (SOC). WYWM were immediately able to adapt their processes to meet our requirements and placed an entire squad of SOC Analysts who were operational within their teams within 90 days.”

Mr Forster continued, commenting on how the hiring was undertaken: “The most interesting part of the recruitment process was the resume sift, because there wasn’t one. The process was completely blind to the candidate’s background, previous work experience, and education. Candidates were moved to the next stage based purely on their aptitude scores. Prior to the interview stage we only received a short biography on each candidate, rather than a lengthy resume, which meant our interview time was focused on problem solving and critical thinking—what they would be doing day-to-day—rather than what they had been doing for the past 5 years.”

WYWM is committed to D&I. Ms McDermott shared with HR Leader that: “WithYouWithMe encourages diversity and inclusion by advocating for and enabling fairer and more equitable recruitment processes. For example, we use psychometric and aptitude testing to reveal a candidate’s potential, rather than relying on traditional recruitment methods like resumes, cover letters, and reference checks.

Testing removes the potential for unconscious biases to creep in, as personal information isn’t part of the equation and as a result diverse candidates aren’t overlooked for roles they’re well suited for, which is sadly often the case.”

The Missing Link has benefited from their work with WYWM. Mr Forster concluded: “Following this engagement with WYWM, we had a 100% success rate transitioning WYWM Squad members from all backgrounds into full-time roles within Cyber Security Operations.”

“The partnership opens up avenues of talent that could be overlooked or under-represented and shows that aptitude scoring beats experience hands down. We are currently in discussions around the potential for engaging another WYWM Squad so I am excited to see where our partnership goes in the future,” he said.

Are We There Yet? The state of Diversity and Inclusion in Australian workplaces – please note that not all survey statistics were included in this final report.

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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