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Australia’s inclusion initiatives still lagging behind global average, report shows

By Shandel McAuliffe | |6 minute read
Australia’s inclusion initiatives still lagging behind global average, report shows

Despite Australia seeing positive progress in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, new research stressed that there is more work to be done for it to be at par with the global average on several benchmarks.

The Land Down Under experienced a 7 per cent increase to reach 55 per cent in Kantar’s annual Inclusion Index benchmark for 2022 — a marked improvement from being one of the worst-performing countries in the 2019 edition of the study.

While figures put Australia’s rating on the same level as the global average of 55 per cent, the report noted that the improvement in the rating was predominantly driven by developments in gender representation in the workplace.

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The global study of 13 countries also showed that the major markets in the Asia-Pacific region, namely India, Australia and Japan, are at the lower end of the rankings of the Inclusion Index.

Australia came in at ninth place, while Japan (48 per cent) and India (41 per cent) were ranked 12th and 13th, respectively.

However, the results were in line with the overall global findings, which suggested progress has stalled, despite the increasing visibility of DEI in business and brand agendas.

Industries also see a decline in inclusion rating, with less than half of analysed key business sectors meeting the global average of 55 per cent.

But the report noted that current efforts made to push DEI initiatives forward are being noticed across countries and industries.

The study showed 71 per cent of respondents believe that their company is actively taking more steps to be more diverse and inclusive, with the figures rising to over 80 per cent in financial services, IT/technology, and marketing/public relations/advertising and market research.

A further 46 per cent of respondents agree that they have personally benefited from DEI in their respective organisations.

Significant headway may have been made to make workplaces more inclusive across the world, but most employees agree that more could be done.

Around half, or 46 per cent of respondents, agree that their organisations need to do more to drive DEI forward. Feedback from respondents also showed that employees want businesses to go beyond DEI campaigns and cultural days and are expecting to observe a stronger focus on driving systemic change.

The report acknowledged that companies might be experiencing “DEI fatigue”, but it highlighted that poor performance on this aspect is having a significant impact on recruitment.

One in four or 25 per cent of surveyed employees stated that they are likely to leave their company based on lack of inclusion and/or discrimination they have experienced or observed, with this figure rising to over a third or 34 per cent for respondents aged under 35.

To win the competition for the best talent available on the market, the report advised businesses to acknowledge DEI as “more than a social-justice imperative but a core enabler of growth and value creation, and even more so in a fast-moving globalised economy”.

It also recommended creating an action plan based on accurate inclusion data and with a system of measuring impact and tracking progress.

This article was originally featured on 30 November 2022 in Real Estate Business.

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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