Appendix 8 - glossary and definitions

The following notes and definitions clarify some main terms relating to equal opportunity and diversity in Western Australia. Where absolute definitions are required, the EO Act should be consulted. There are also definitions pertinent to demographic data collection undertaken by public sector agencies, local government authorities and public universities. For more information visit the Commission’s website at www.publicsector.wa.gov.au

Annual agency survey

The Annual agency survey collects information from all public sector CEOs relating to compliance with the general principles of human resource management, the Commissioner’s instruction No.7 - Code of ethics, agency codes of conduct, as well as overall agency administration and management.

Distribution

The distribution of a diversity group across salary ranges is determined using the equity index. The ideal equity index is 100. An equity index less than 100 indicates the diversity group is concentrated at the lower salary ranges, while an equity index greater than 100 indicates the group is concentrated at the higher salary ranges.

EEO

Equal employment opportunity

Employee perception surveys

Employee perception surveys are conducted by the Commission for employees in public sector agencies and authorities. The surveys include questions relating to human resource management, ethics, equity, and diversity. Analysis of the survey is conducted by comparing responses for each agency to the public sector aggregate and providing a gender breakdown.

Employment status or employment type

Employment status relates to whether an employee is employed on a permanent, fixed-term, casual or sessional basis and whether they work full-time or part-time.

Permanent

An employee employed for an indefinite period of time, usually under the terms and conditions of a relevant award or agreement.

Fixed-term

An employee employed for a finite period of time.

Full-time

An employee who usually works the agreed or award hours for a full-time employee in their occupation. If the agreed or award hours do not apply, an employee is regarded as full-time if they ordinarily work 35 hours or more per week.

Part-time

An employee who works less than full-time hours as defined above.

Casual

An employee who is paid an hourly rate and receives a loading, usually in lieu of leave entitlements.

Sessional

An employee employed to work for session periods.

Other

An employee who does not fit into any of the above groups.

Equal opportunity

As stated in s.3 of the EO Act, equal opportunity is concerned with:

  • the elimination of discrimination on the basis of the grounds covered in the EO Act
  • the promotion of the recognition and acceptance of the equality of all persons regardless of sex, marital status or pregnancy, family responsibility or family status, race, religious or political conviction, impairment or age.

Equity index

The equity index is a measure of distribution. It compares the distribution of women or a diversity group in the workforce to the distribution of the workforce as a whole. If a group has a similar distribution across all ranges as the total workforce the equity index is 100. An equity index of less than 100 indicates compression of a group at the lower salary ranges. An equity index of more than 100 indicates compression of a group at the higher salary ranges.

Details of the calculation are included at the end of this appendix. The Commission has electronic calculators available for agencies to calculate equity indices for their organisation.

Indigenous Australians

Persons of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who identify as such and are accepted as such by the community in which they live.

Indoor workers

Staff in local government authorities who are generally office based.

Management profile

Management profile relates to the top three management tiers in the organisational management structure and is linked to decision-making responsibility rather than salary. A range of possible management structures exist, depending on the nature of the organisation’s business. While all organisations will have tier 1 management, some smaller organisations or those with flatter structures may have only two tiers of management.

Management tiers

Tier 1 management

  • Directs and is responsible for the organisation, as well as its development as a whole.
  • Has ultimate control of, and responsibility for, the upper layers of management.
  • Typical titles include Director General, Chief Execuive Officer, General Manager, Executive Director and Commissioner.

Tier 2 management

  • Is directly below the top level of the hierarchy.
  • Assists tier 1 management by implementing organisational plans.
  • Is directly responsible for leading and directing the work of other managers of functional departments below them.
  • May be responsible for managing professional and specialist employees.
  • Does not include professional and graduate staff. For example, engineers, medical practitioners and accountants, unless they have a primary management function.

Tier 3 management

  • Is responsible to tier 2 management.
  • Formulates policies and plans for their area of control.
  • Manages a budget and employees.
  • Is the interface between tier 2 management and lower level managers.
  • Does not include professional and graduate staff. For example, engineers, medical practitioners and accountants, unless they have a primary management function.

Outdoor workers

Staff in local government authorities who generally work outdoors.

People from culturally diverse backgrounds

People born in countries other than those categorised by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as main English speaking countries, such as Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and United States of America.

People with a disability

People with an ongoing disability who have an employment restriction due to their disability that requires:

  • modified hours of work or time schedules
  • adaptations to the workplace or work area
  • specialised equipment
  • extra time for mobility or for some tasks
  • ongoing assistance or supervision to carry out their duties.

People with a disability - types of impairments

  • Sight: employee uses braille, low vision aids or other special technology such as appropriate computers or screens. This does not include glasses or contact lenses.
  • Speech: employee uses aids such as word processors or communication boards in order to be understood or needs extra time to be understood.
  • Hearing: employee uses aids such as a hearing help card or volume control telephone in order to hear, telephone typewriter (TTY), Auslan interpreter or note-taker in order to communicate.
  • Learning: employee uses specific support and training to perform the job, needs more than average time to learn some parts of a job or has difficulty with reading or writing. For example, dyslexia, an intellectual disability or an acquired brain injury.
  • Use of arms or hands: employee uses specific equipment. For example, modified keyboard, hands-free telephone or needs extra time for handling objects.
  • Use of legs: employee uses aids or needs extra time for mobility. For example, the employee uses a wheelchair or crutches.
  • Long-term medical, physical, mental or psychiatric condition: employee has any long-term health or medical condition which regularly restricts or limits activities. For example, employee requires regular absences due to illness or time to be provided at work for medication or treatment, or restricts some functions due to health and safety considerations.

Representation

Representation expressed as a percentage is based on the number of individuals who identify themselves as belonging to a diversity group as a proportion of the workforce that responded to the Commission recommended diversity survey. Diversity surveying is managed by public authorities.

Response rate for demographic survey of employees

Data on Indigenous Australians, people from culturally diverse backgrounds and people with a disability is obtained through self-nomination using voluntary surveys or other voluntary data collection tools. In some organisations, information is not available for all employees and the number of surveyed employees is required to calculate an estimated percentage of employees in the diversity group within the organisation.

The survey response rate is the number of people who have responded to the request for information, divided by the total number of employees in the organisation (including casuals and others). The response rate may be different for each diversity group if a different type of survey or data collection tool was used for each group at a different time.

Salary ranges

Data relating to salary ranges refers only to permanent employees, fixed-term employees and trainees according to their current equivalent annual base wage or salary. ‘Equivalent salary’ is the salary that would be paid to a full-time employee at that level including:

  • base wage or salary for employees on unpaid leave
  • equivalent annual rate of pay as specified in the award, enterprise or workplace agreement
  • salary incremental step
  • ordinary time earnings
  • higher duties allowance for ordinary time hours.

Penalty payments, shift and other remunerative allowances and overtime pay are excluded.

In public sector agencies and authorities, salary ranges are based on the Public Service and Government Officers General Agreement 2011 (PSGOGA 2011), where salary range 10 combines Class 1 and above.

Schedule 1 agency

Refers to public sector authorities classified as Schedule 1. They are entities which are not organisations as defined in the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (PSM Act).

SES

In Western Australia, the Senior Executive Service (SES) is generally composed of positions classified at level 9 or above that carry specific management or policy responsibilities. CEOs are appointed under s.45 of the PSM Act. Other SES members are appointed under s.53 and s.56 of the PSM Act.

Explanation of calculations

Calculating the equity index

The equity index has the following formula:

The equity index formula

Where:

  • EGroup is the equity index for one of the diversity groups
  • a is equal to 0.5
  • j is the salary level (from 1 to 10)
  • sj is the number of employees in that diversity group at salary level j
  • S is the total number of employees in that diversity group in the agency
  • tj is the number of employees at salary level j
  • T is the total number of employees across the agency.

The index is designed to have a value of 100 for an ‘ideal’ distribution of a diversity group through the levels.

How to calculate the significance test

Since the equity index is based upon actual numbers that may vary by chance, it is necessary to determine the statistical significance of the index. The measure of its uncertainty is calculated using the following formula:

The measure of its uncertainty is calculated using this formula

Then the following calculation is done to test whether the equity index is significantly different from 100:

Significance test:

The significance test formula

A value of more than two or less than minus two indicates a significant difference from the ideal index of 100.

Use of the significance test for small diversity group numbers

Where the organisation has small numbers of a relevant diversity group, random fluctuations may have a high impact on the equity index and the deviation from 100 may be quite large before it becomes significant. In such situations it is important to consider the history of the index for the organisation. If history shows the index is consistently low there may be cause for concern even if the test is not significant. However, if the index is sometimes high and sometimes low, it would indicate that chance fluctuations are causing these results.

Use of the significance test where the diversity group is the majority

The calculation for the significance test is an estimate of a more complex test. It provides a good estimate where there is a low or medium representation of the relevant diversity group in the workforce. Where the representation the relevant diversity group is high, the test is not quite as accurate and gives a slight underestimate. For example, in female dominated industries or occupations. In this situation the test may show the deviation from 100 is not significant when the precise calculation would show that it is.

If people from the relevant diversity group are the majority of the workforce, and the significance test is not significant but is close to two or minus two, the test should be carried out for the minority group. For example, men in female-dominated industries. If this shows a significant difference from 100, the majority group will also be significantly different from 100.

Composite equity index

The composite equity index (CEI) is used to measure the equity outcomes achieved by public sector agencies and authorities as a result of applying the principles of merit, equity and probity. The CEI uses employment data provided by agencies with more than 100 employees to provide a single measure of equity for each agency.

The CEI is calculated by combining equity indices for each of the four main diversity groups (women, Indigenous Australians, people from culturally diverse backgrounds and people with a disability) with representation in agency employment for each of the four groups. Extensive development has gone into preparing the CEI. Although complex, it has been rigorously tested.

The eight components (four equity indices and four participation indices) are combined into the CEI via the following formula:

The eight components (four equity indices and four participation indices) are combined into the CEI via this formula

Where:

  • CI is the composite equity index score for an agency
  • a is equal to 0.5
  • k represents the equity groups (women, Indigenous Australians, people from culturally diverse backgrounds and people with a disability)
  • Ek is the equity index for the equity group k
  • Pk is the participation index for the equity group k
  • Tgtk is the community representation for the equity group k
  • Yk is an indicator variable, with a value of one if the equity score for that equity group is greater than zero, and zero otherwise
  • Zk is an indicator variable, with a value of one if the community representation for that equity group is greater than zero, and zero otherwise.

The CEI has been calculated using the 2010 diversity objectives set out in Equity and Diversity Plan for the Public Sector Workforce 2006-2010 benchmarking:

  • 13% for people from culturally diverse backgrounds
  • 3.2% for Indigenous Australians
  • 3.7% for people with a disability.

Changes to the CEI for 2006 (as compared to data published in the DEOPE Annual report 2006) are due to significant corrections to 2006 data provided by Department of Education and Training.

Participation index

The participation index has the following formula:

The participation index formula

Where:

  • PGroup is the participation index for one of the diversity groups
  • S is the number of employees in that diversity group in the agency
  • T is the total number of employees in the agency
  • Tgt is the community representation for the diversity group as specified in the Equity and Diversity Plan for the Public Sector Workforce 2006-2010

Page last updated 11 September 2014