Diversity and inclusion

Encouraging employees to disclose their diversity status, reducing barriers to employment, and raising awareness of unconscious bias are guiding principles for building an inclusive and diverse workforce.

Culturally and linguistically diverse employment

A culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) workforce brings a variety of viewpoints and new ideas, generating innovation and creative approaches. Cultural diversity at leadership levels makes for better decision making and organisational performance.

Between 2012 and 2016, the representation of public sector employees from CaLD backgrounds did not change, and remains under-represented in our workforce compared with the Western Australian community. To improve this, we have been working with the Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment (DEOPE) and the Office of Multicultural Interests to develop a strategy to build an equitable and inclusive workforce. This is likely to be released during the next reporting period.

Sexuality, sex and gender diversity

In 2016, the Commissioner, DEOPE and Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner hosted ‘Acknowledging sexual and gender diversity: Creating transgender inclusive workplaces’. This forum promoted best practice for preventing discrimination against transgender and intersex people.

To support this, we have started offering the option for an ‘X’ (indeterminate, intersex, unspecified) gender in our annual survey program, our Human resources minimum obligatory information requirement (HRMOIR) collection process and through our events system. This change marks an important shift in our language as we continue to move towards a more inclusive and diverse workplace culture.

In consultation with The University of Western Australia, Pride in Diversity, TransFolk of WA and WA Police, we are working with the DEOPE to develop a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) inclusion guide for employers to assist employees wishing to transition. It is anticipated this work will help to promote more inclusive workplaces and ensure LGBTI employees and clients are treated with respect, and encourage other agencies to offer ALLY training to their employees.

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Disability employment

To support disability employment we developed See my abilities: An employment strategy for people with disability and commenced a pilot cadetship program for university students with disability. The program provided a paid work placement for four university undergraduates in their final year of study. The strategy is also supported by the Commission’s pilot traineeship program for people with disability. In 2016/17, four school-based trainees and five full-time trainees commenced the program. Of the five school-based trainees who commenced employment during the previous reporting period, all are on track to complete their traineeship in late 2017.

Aboriginal employment

Our focus | Providing opportunities for Aboriginal Australians

In October 2016, Attract, appoint and advance: An employment strategy for Aboriginal people was launched by the Commissioner and the Director of Equal Opportunity and Public Employment. The strategy’s primary goal is to achieve greater retention and sustainable improvement in the representation of Aboriginal employees at all levels.

In 2017, to support our strategy, we commenced a pilot cadetship program for university students identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. The program provides a paid work placement for cadets in their final year of study. In 2016/17, three Aboriginal cadets participated in the program. We also continued to administer the Aboriginal Traineeship Program with 51 trainees commencing the program during 2016/17. An additional five full-time Aboriginal trainees were directly employed via our Traineeship Recruitment and Referral Service.

On successful completion, trainees receive a nationally recognised qualification and are supported by the Commission to identify ongoing employment opportunities. Of those who commenced the program in the previous cohort, 40 trainees received their qualification in 2016/17. 

To further strengthen the sector’s relationship with Aboriginal communities, we also offered placements for two public sector employees on the Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnership Program. The program provides a unique development opportunity for public sector leaders by arranging short-term placements in Aboriginal organisations and communities.

 Find out more about the work we are doing to facilitate Aboriginal employment in the public sector on our website

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Multigenerational employment

There is now potential for contemporary workplaces to have five generations working alongside one another, creating both opportunities and challenges. As at March 2017, 52.6 per cent of the public sector workforce was aged 45 and over and 4.4 per cent is aged 24 and under.

The Commissioner and DEOPE’s joint commitment Time for action: diversity and inclusion in public employment outlines a public sector goal of 5 per cent representation for people aged 24 and under by the end of 2018/19. To assist public authorities in achieving this goal, we are progressing a strategy for multigenerational employment and inclusion. This strategy will seek to guide public authorities in taking actions to reduce employment barriers for younger and older workers and provide practical advice on maximising the benefits of an intergenerational workforce.

As part of our commitment to increasing the representation of people aged 24 and under in the public sector, we maintain a pool of candidates who are prepared to start their career through a traineeship. In 2016/17, 63 full-time trainees and 17 school-based trainees commenced a traineeship across 40 public sector agencies via either direct employment, or through a hosting arrangement facilitated by the Commission. In addition, 19 school-based trainees are on track to complete their traineeship in late 2017. Upon completion, trainees will receive a nationally recognised qualification.

To retain talent and assist trainees to engage in employment within the public sector, we offer the Trainee Transition to Employment Recruitment and Referral Service. During 2016/17, 11 trainees transitioned to full-time or part-time Level 1 employment within the sector.


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Page last updated 14 September 2017