Supply lags demand in delivering workplace diversity
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Supply lags demand in delivering workplace diversity

Despite diversity and inclusion being firmly on the agenda for Australian workplaces in 2018, new research has revealed that only 50 per cent of employees believe their employers have a diverse and inclusive culture.

The 2018 Randstad Employer Brand Research has revealed that only half of Aussie workers believe their employers have successfully established a diverse and inclusive culture.

Commissioned by leading global HR company, Randstad, the annual report looks at Australian workers’ perceptions of employer brands and job seeker drivers.

The Randstad research findings echo industry research which shows three in four Australian workers support their organisation taking action to create a workplace which is diverse and inclusive. This is backed up by the claim that one in five Australians have experienced harassment and/or discrimination at work in the past year.

Gap

Randstad CEO, Frank Ribuot, said that while the issue of diversity and inclusion has been increasingly in the spotlight globally, many local businesses are still only at the foundation stage of building their diversity programs.

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“There is a significant gap between what employees want and what employers are achieving when it comes to a diverse and inclusive work environment,” he said.

“Our research indicates organisations need to better define their strategy here, putting in place clear channels of communications to ensure genuine progress is made so that all Australians can feel safe, welcome and respected at work.

“Interestingly, our study also showed that while only a fifth (19 per cent) of Australians ranked diversity and inclusion as an important factor when choosing an employer, once in the job, they are calling on employers to deliver clear channels for communication and feedback as well as concrete and meaningful actions in relation to these issues (47 per cent).”

According to the research, almost two thirds (61 per cent) of Australians feel the greatest sense of inclusion when an employer offers flexible work options. This extends to social engagement, with almost half (46 per cent) claiming the opportunity for all employees to plan and make decisions relating to social activity is highly valued.

When looking at workers’ motivations for leaving a role, the study found 27 per cent also cited a lack of flexibility as one of the top five reasons to do so.

It found that the early learning, education and professional, scientific and technical fields sectors are perceived as delivering the greatest flexible working arrangements.

Progress

Director of Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Libby Lyons, said access to flexible working opportunities is a key factor in achieving gender equality in the workplace.

“The agency’s data shows that nationally we have made progress as almost seven in 10 employers now have a policy or strategy to promote flexible working.”

But she stressed that strategies and policies need to be implemented through action.

“Our data reveals that less than five per cent of employers actually set targets for engagement in flexible work and fewer than two per cent set targets for men’s engagement with flexible work.

“This is important because research reveals that normalising flexible working arrangements is a key factor in improving women’s career progression and increasing the representation of women in leadership.”

Onus

She emphasised that the Randstad report shows that most Australian workers want employers to offer flexible working options in their workplaces.

“The onus is now on employers to ensure organisation-wide acceptance of flexible work, allowing their employees greater flexibility in the choices they make to manage productive work and life commitments.”

Mr Ribuot said that a robust diversity program can help increase a business' performance.

“As the make up of Australia becomes more diverse, so will the expectation for companies to have dedicated policies that engages with all people, putting diversity and inclusion at the heart of their businesses.

“While a number of industries are making headway with flexible working environments, it’s time for all Australian employers to follow suit.”

Supply lags demand in delivering workplace diversity
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