Outcomes for diversity in public employment

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EEO data collection

Each year, the DEOPE collects EEO data from public authorities and determines the representation and distribution across salary levels of diversity groups. As well as supporting public authorities to meet their obligations to report annually to the DEOPE under s. 146 of the EO Act, this data assists the DEOPE in evaluating the effectiveness of EEO management plans.

At 30 June 2014, the DEOPE received EEO data through the HRMOIR process for

108 public sector entities (including the non-public sector authorities of the Police Force and the electorate offices). The remaining non-public sector authorities provided data through EEO surveys as follows:

  • 138 LGAs (March 2014)
  • 4 public universities (March 2014)
  • 20 other authorities, including government trading enterprises (June 2014).

Figure 1 provides total employee numbers within each sector reporting to the DEOPE. There was a total of 201 458 employees across all public authorities reporting in 2014. Appendix B provides a list of these public authorities.

Figure 1 Public authorities reporting to the DEOPE, 2014

Organisational structure as at 30 June 2013 Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

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Employment outcomes

Aboriginal Australians

WA is a signatory to the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG's) National partnership agreement on Indigenous economic participation. This partnership aims to halve the gap in employment outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians within a decade. In 2011, 38% of Aboriginal Australians (aged 15 years and over) in WA were employed, compared to 65% of non-Aboriginal Australians.8

COAG's agreement sets a national target of 2.6% Aboriginal representation in the public sector workforce, and WA has committed to a target of 3.2% by 2015. In working towards this target, WA is mindful that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has estimated Aboriginal representation in the WA working age population (i.e. between 15 and 64 years) is 2.8%.9 It is also recognised that public sector entities face some challenges in Aboriginal employment, particularly in the context of competition for labour from the mining and resources sector.

The proportion of Aboriginal Australians in the WA public sector this year (2.9%) compared favourably to the estimated proportion in the WA working age population (2.8%). The WA public sector also continued to have one of the highest representations across all Australian jurisdictions as seen in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Representation of Aboriginal employees across public sector jurisdictions, 2013 and 2014

Representation of Aboriginal employees across public sector jurisdictions, 2013 and 2014 Source: HRMOIR and other jurisdictions' publications (see Appendix D)

Table 2 provides a snapshot of Aboriginal Australians in the WA public sector in June 2014. This shows most Aboriginal employees were women, and were fairly evenly split across metropolitan and regional work locations. A substantial proportion were mature workers and, across the salary bands, the largest proportion (32.4%) was employed at the Public Service and Government Officers General Agreement 2011 (PSGOGA) equivalent Level 1 salary band or below (up to $53 150 per annum).

At 10.1%, permanent Aboriginal staff had a higher rate of separation from their organisations than permanent public sector staff (8.1%). The Aboriginal workforce also had a slightly higher representation of people with disability than the broader public sector (2.8%, compared to 2.3% respectively).

Table 2 Aboriginal workforce within the WA public sector, 2014

Aboriginal employees (number)

Headcount

2 390

FTE

1 910.1

Employment type (%)

Permanent

72.6

Fixed term

21.3

Casual

4.5

Others

1.6

Geographical distribution (%)

Perth metropolitan area

44.4

Regional WA

55.6

Gender (%)

Women

75.1

Men

24.9

Age (% in years)

Less than 25

8.5

25 to 44

46.3

45 and over

45.2

PSGOGA equivalent salary bands (%)

Level 1 and below

32.4

Level 2

15.6

Level 3

10.0

Level 4

13.4

Level 5

11.3

Level 6

11.3

Level 7

4.3

Level 8

1.0

Level 9

0.4

Class 1 and above

0.4

Separation rate (%)

Permanent staff from public sector entity

10.1

Senior management (% on headcount basis)

Senior Executive Service

0.13

Disability status (% on headcount basis)

Ongoing disability and employment restriction

2.8

Note: All percentages, apart from separation rate, represent proportions of the total Aboriginal workforce.

Source: HRMOIR

Table 3 shows the representation of Aboriginal Australians in public employment over time. There has been little change this year, with the exception of a decrease in the proportion of Aboriginal outdoor workers in LGAs. This decrease appears to be due to LGAs collecting more staff diversity information, thus resulting in a more representative statistic for Aboriginal Australians this year.

A public sector recruitment freeze and round of voluntary severances appears to have had some impact on the overall representation of Aboriginal Australians in the public sector this year (with at least 60 Aboriginal staff either not commencing traineeships, or leaving the sector with severance packages). While this is not a large number of employees, and trainees may have been able to take up positions after 1 July 2014, small numbers can make a difference when representation is low. Improvements in data collection by public authorities have also impacted on representation this year.

It should be noted that Aboriginal employment statistics have some limitations due to non-identification of Aboriginal status. For example, in HRMOIR data provided by public sector entities at 30 June 2014, Aboriginal status was not identified for 40% of employees

(54 950).10

Table 3 Aboriginal Australian representation, 2010 to 2014

   

Representation (%)

   

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Public sector

All staff

2.9

3.1

3.3

3.0

2.9

LGAs

Indoor workers

1.4

n/a

1.8

1.7

1.4

Outdoor workers

6.4

n/a

6.1

6.3

4.6

Public universities

Academic staff

1.2

1.3

1.2

1.0^

0.9

General staff

1.2

1.2

0.9

1.1^

0.9

Other authorities

All staff

1.1

1.1

1.4

1.5

1.6

Note: For Tables 3 and 4, for 2011, the reporting date for LGAs was changed from December 2011 to March 2012. This change resulted in no LGA data for 2011.

^Public university representation for 2013 differs from last year's report due to improvements in data collection and reporting.

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

Table 4 shows the distribution of Aboriginal Australians across salary levels (equity index11) in public employment. There has been little significant change this year.

Table 4 Aboriginal Australian distribution (equity index), 2010 to 2014

   

Distribution

   

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Public sector

All staff

41

36

35

39

 41

LGAs

Indoor workers

65

n/a

61

60

59

Outdoor workers

93

n/a

91

90

87

Public universities

Academic staff

76

76

71

85

90

General staff

53

56

51

61

57

Other authorities

All staff

52

46

51

49

53

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

Public sector traineesPublic sector trainees undertaking the 'Aboriginal traineeship program'

Under s.50(d) of the EO Act, it is recognised that services to Aboriginal Australians may be most effectively delivered by Aboriginal employees. To ensure an open and accessible employment process for all diversity groups, the DEOPE encourages public sector entities to consider the Aboriginal employment strategy 2011–2015 and other human resource flexibilities in their approach to workforce planning, position development and recruitment.

Manager Aboriginal EmploymentThe Public Sector Commission's Manager Aboriginal Employment presenting at the Aboriginal traineeship graduation ceremony, November 2013

Consistent with the findings of the evaluation of Aboriginal employment practices, the DEOPE is keen to share good practice examples showcasing the work of public authorities to increase the representation of Aboriginal Australians. Some examples of good practice in Aboriginal employment in public authorities are provided in the following case studies.

Case study

Aboriginal health worker up-skilling in the Department of Health

The Department of Health's 'Aboriginal health worker up-skilling project' is a three year project to further develop the knowledge, skills and abilities of Aboriginal health workers, enabling them to meet the requirements of the nationally accredited qualification, Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (Practice).

Health consulted extensively with Aboriginal Australians about what is needed to deliver culturally secure health care in communities. This included building sustainable relationships, gaining trust, and tailoring the project according to the community's needs.

Delivered by five Aboriginal registered training organisations, the training met the Aboriginal health workers' learning needs in terms of flexibility and clinical placement times and locations. Training was undertaken with existing primary health care teams, particularly in regional and remote locations where service delivery and accessibility present significant workforce attraction and retention issues.

Specific training was developed to address identified gaps in training for eye, ear and oral health. The evaluation of the 'Ear health' program revealed that over 70% of Aboriginal health workers have used the new skills they acquired, and almost 60% have identified an ear or hearing related condition and made a referral that resulted in the client receiving treatment.

The project led to the issuing of over 400 health related qualifications that will directly benefit the Aboriginal health workers' careers and encourage them to consider new career pathways. The up-skilling project is a finalist in the 2014 'Premier's awards for excellence in public sector management'.

Public Sector Commission staffPublic Sector Commission staff discussing the Aboriginal employment strategy 2011–2015

Case study

The Housing Authority's Aboriginal trainees transition to employment

The Housing Authority has been participating in the Commission's 'Aboriginal traineeship program' since its inception in 2012.

The Authority has committed to host six trainees per year and offer a permanent full-time position with the Authority to every trainee who completes the program. Trainees have been placed in offices across the state including Broome, Port Hedland, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Fremantle, Mirrabooka, Midland and Perth. To date, 11 people from the program have completed their traineeships and accepted full-time positions.

There has been a number of initiatives implemented to support the trainees during the program, and as they transition into employment, such as:

  • managers being encouraged to complete the Commission's 'Supervising Aboriginal staff' training program
  • Aboriginal mentors being assigned to each trainee to support them in cultural security and work/life balance
  • buddies being assigned to each trainee to provide practical support with work related issues, and a safe and accessible 'go to' person
  • new employees from the traineeship program acting as role models in meeting regularly with trainees to provide support and share information.

The Authority supports new employees from the traineeship program to continue with their studies through Certificate in Government courses and the assignment of five hours per week of study leave during work hours. Supervisors ensure that relevant work is allocated to support their course requirements. A desired outcome is to develop the knowledge and skill base of new employees to ensure they have opportunities for career advancement.

The supervisors, mentors, buddies, trainees and new employees also attend an annual session to consider what is working well in the traineeship program and to provide feedback for improvements.

Public Sector Commission staffPublic Sector Commission staff reviewing Aboriginal employment strategies from public authorities

Case study

Aboriginal employment in the Water Corporation

The Water Corporation has implemented an 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment standard' that supports a number of wider initiatives, including the Corporation's 'Reconciliation action plan 2013-15'. The aim of the standard is to help shape the Corporation's workforce to be more representative of the WA community, with the Corporation aiming for an employment target of 3.2% Aboriginal representation by 2018. The recent introduction of the standard has helped to boost Aboriginal representation by 36% in the past 12 months,12 with all new appointments retained.

The Corporation has worked closely with partnering bodies from Aboriginal organisations, such as the Clontarf Foundation and Wirrpanda Foundation, to develop a shared understanding of Aboriginal culture and communities in the approach to Aboriginal recruitment. The proactive establishment of ongoing relationships with Aboriginal communities and corporate partners has been essential to maximising Aboriginal applicants e.g. through the 'Yokai forum', secondary schools, tertiary institutions, employment agencies and job network agencies. The Corporation has also researched where Aboriginal job seekers find job postings and career information, and has showcased opportunities at career fairs and Aboriginal employment and training workshops.

Providing a welcoming environment has been key to the improvement in recruitment and retention of Aboriginal employees over the last 12 months. The Corporation carries out extensive cultural awareness training for all employees, including supervisors of Aboriginal employees. Relevant programs for hiring managers and candidates include:

  • the opportunity to have a workplace buddy and Aboriginal mentor to assist in addressing cultural issues or barriers
  • access to mentors trained through the Corporation's mentoring program
  • the provision of support to hiring managers to ensure the workplace is culturally safe and welcoming.

The monitoring of Aboriginal employment assists to identify any possible issues. The equity and diversity manager works collaboratively with the relevant manager and employees to find solutions as needed.

Water Corporation staffWater Corporation staff at their annual National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) celebrations in July 2014

People with disability

In 2012, WA committed to COAG's National disability agreement. This national partnership aims to drive improved services in delivering outcomes for people with disability, and to ensure people with disability participate as valued members of the labour force and broader community.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has estimated the working age representation of people needing assistance with core activities (i.e. those aged between 15 and 64 years with profound or severe disability in self-care, mobility and/or communication) to be 1.9% in WA.13

The DEOPE works collaboratively with the Commission on the Disability employment strategy 2013–2015 and aims to improve participation, inclusion and access for people with disability across the public sector. The DEOPE is also a member of the 'Public sector employment of people with disability reference group', which monitors the implementation and effectiveness of the strategy. This group has most recently focused on public sector recruitment practices, such as optimising selection processes for people with disability.

Figure 3 shows the proportion of people with disability in the WA public sector this year (2.3%), which positions WA close to midway across the Australian jurisdictions. The WA result compares favourably to the estimated proportion in the WA working age population needing assistance with core activities (1.9%).

Figure 3 Representation of employees with disability across public sector jurisdictions, 2013 and 2014

Representation of employees with disability across public sector jurisdictions, 2013 and 2014 Source: HRMOIR and other jurisdictions' publications (see Appendix D)

Table 5 provides a snapshot of people with disability in the WA public sector in June 2014. This shows the majority of employees with disability were women and working in the Perth metropolitan area. A large proportion comprised mature workers and people with disability showed a fairly equitable distribution across PSGOGA equivalent salary bands.

At 10.6%, permanent employees with disability had a higher rate of separation from their organisations than permanent public sector staff (8.1%).

Table 5 Employees with disability in the WA public sector, 2014

Employees with disability (number)

Headcount

1 953

FTE

1 576.6

Employment type (%)

Permanent

81.6

Fixed term

11.5

Casual

5.5

Others

1.4

Geographical distribution (%)

Perth metropolitan area

77.2

Regional WA

22.8

Gender (%)

Women

60.4

Men

39.6

Age (% in years)

Less than 25

2.7

25 to 44

35.3

45 and over

62.0

PSGOGA equivalent salary bands (%)

Level 1 and below

16.4

Level 2

13.0

Level 3

8.8

Level 4

17.6

Level 5

12.7

Level 6

19.0

Level 7

7.3

Level 8

3.0

Level 9

0.9

Class 1 and above

1.4

Separation rate (%)

Permanent staff from public sector entity

10.6

Senior management (% on headcount basis)

Senior Executive Service

0.41

Note: All percentages, apart from separation rate, represent proportions of the total workforce with disability.

Source: HRMOIR

Table 6 shows the representation of people with disability in public employment over time. There was a slight trend downwards this year across most sectors although this decrease appears to be due to improvements in data collection by public authorities this year.

It should be noted that statistics on disability employment have some limitations due to non-identification of disability status. For example, in HRMOIR data provided by public sector entities at 30 June 2014, disability status was not available for 40% of employees (54 512).14

Table 6 Representation of people with disability, 2010 to 2014

   

Representation (%)

   

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Public sector

All staff

3.5*

4.2*

4.8*

2.6

2.3

LGAs

Indoor workers

1.8

n/a

1.7

1.7

1.4

Outdoor workers

3.3

n/a

3.1

2.9

3.0

Public universities

Academic staff

1.4

1.9

1.7

1.8^

1.4

General staff

1.5

1.7

1.3

1.5^

1.2

Other authorities

All staff

1.7

1.5

1.5

1.6

1.4

Note: For Tables 6 and 7, for 2011, the reporting date for LGAs was changed from December 2011 to March 2012. This change resulted in no LGA data for 2011.

* In 2013, the Department of Health identified a significant over-reporting error for employees with disability. This means the public sector figures for 2010 to 2012 reflect an over-representation of employees with disability.

^Public university representation for 2013 differs from last year's report due to improvements in data collection and reporting.

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

Table 7 shows the distribution of people with disability across salary levels (equity index) in public employment. While representation may have decreased slightly, the equity index for people with disability increased across all sectors. This indicates people with disability are more evenly distributed across salary levels this year.

Table 7 People with disability distribution (equity index), 2010 to 2014

   

Distribution

   

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Public sector

All staff

95*

95*

100*

87

99

LGAs

Indoor workers

74

n/a

77

78

92

Outdoor workers

91

n/a

83

81

84

Public universities

Academic staff

108

104

97

101

104

General staff

72

77

76

76

84

Other authorities

All staff

136

86

91

88

97

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

Between 1 July 2013 and 1 April 2014, 16% of full-time trainees were people with disability and 12% of school based trainees were people with disability.

A public sector example of employing trainees with disability is described in the following case study.

Case study

The Department of the Attorney General – Trainees with disability

Consistent with its commitment to employing people with disability, the Department of the Attorney General (DotAG) instigated research into developing a disability employment strategy. The research investigated the rates of employment for people with disability around Australia. It was determined that DotAG's strategy should focus on employing more people with disability and destigmatising disability in the workplace. In developing the strategy, DotAG's barriers to employment, recruitment and retention of people with disability were examined in conjunction with best practice in other public sector entities.

The strategy was developed in conjunction with DotAG staff, disability employment providers and the Commission. Implemented across DotAG, including regional offices, a key success factor was the focus on traineeships. The first intake of trainees with disability was in October 2013 with traineeships due to conclude in October 2014. Preliminary findings on the success of the traineeships indicate that DotAG has reduced negative perceptions of, and barriers to, working with people with disability.

Continuing the traineeships will be key in ensuring DotAG services better meet the needs of clients and staff and in promoting DotAG as an employer of choice for people with disability.

Women in management

In accordance with the objects under Part IX of the EO Act, the DEOPE works to eliminate discrimination in employment on the grounds of sex, among other factors. Improving the representation of women in management continues to present a challenge for public employment. Similar issues are experienced across the private sector, with only 9.7% of executive management positions in Australia's top 200 companies being held by women.15

Figure 4 shows the proportion of women in the WA Senior Executive Service (SES) this year has risen to 30.1%. This continues to be lower than most other Australian jurisdictions. However, women comprised 29% of the chairs of WA government-appointed boards and committees in 2013, which is higher than for board directors of Australia's top 200 companies (17%).16

Figure 4 Representation of women in senior executive positions across public sector jurisdictions, 2013 and 2014

Representation of women in senior executive positions across public sector jurisdictions, 2013 and 2014 Source: HRMOIR and other jurisdictions' publications (see Appendix D)

Women made up the majority (71.9%) of the WA public sector workforce at June 2014. Of these women, a substantial proportion worked part-time.

Figure 5 shows that 48.2% of all women in the public sector worked part-time, compared to 14.1% of all men. It is likely that more women seek part-time arrangements to accommodate the needs of their families.17 This corresponds to a decline in women's participation rates in the 30 to 35 year age bracket for the public sector (HRMOIR data for June 2014) and aligns to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' findings18 that mothers with dependents have a much lower labour force participation rate than fathers with dependents.

Figure 5 Public sector employees working part-time by gender, 2014

Public sector employees working part-time by gender, 2014 Source: HRMOIR

It is possible that the interruption to women's careers when they move to part-time employment contributes to the lower representation of women in leadership positions. Women may miss out on important development and progression opportunities while they are out of the workplace and also when working part-time. This can affect their educational and occupational choices, with some careers or jobs seen as more 'family-friendly' than others,19 and may be helping to drive the pay gap for women and men across the public sector.

Figure 6 shows that women made up most of the public sector workforce at the lower PSGOGA equivalent salary bands (Level 6 and below) in June 2014. Around 80% of public sector employees at the Level 1 equivalent salary band (up to $53 150 per annum) were women.

Figure 6 Representation of women across PSGOGA equivalent salary bands in the public sector, 2014

Representation of women across PSGOGA equivalent salary bands in the public sector, 2014 * These PSGOGA equivalent levels include both SES and non-SES employees receiving similar remuneration packages under PSGOGA and other awards/agreements such as the WA Health - Health Services Union Award 2006 and the Teachers (Public Sector Primary and Secondary Education) Award 1993.

Source: HRMOIR

Representation continues to reflect the percentage of women overall in the public sector, until women reach Level 7. At this level and above, which coincides with classification levels where management roles are prevalent, the percentage of women steadily declines. HRMOIR data suggests women reaching this mid-level classification are often in the 30 to 35 year age group, when the advent of family responsibilities is likely.

Table 8 shows the representation of women in management across public authorities over time. This year, there were increases in the representation of women at most public sector management levels. There were also increases in women working at the chief executive level in LGAs, and at tier 3 management levels in public universities and other authorities (including government trading enterprises, the Police Force and electorate offices).

Table 8 Representation of women in management, 2010 to 2014

   

Representation (%)

   

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Public sector

SES

26.7

26.4

27.6

29.2

30.1

Tier 1

27.7

29.6

31.4

26.2

29.3

Tier 2

36.9

35.6

33.7

35.4

34.8

Tier 3

39.0

40.0

40.5

42.0

42.7

LGAs

Tier 1 (indoor workers)

7.8

n/a

7.9

8.6

12.3

Tier 2 (indoor workers)

28.3

n/a

34.2

32.1

30.0

Tier 2 (outdoor workers)

13.4

n/a

6.9

1.6

1.8

Tier 3 (indoor workers)

39.1

n/a

38.0

37.2

38.0

Tier 3 (outdoor workers)

11.5

n/a

9.3

11.0

6.7

Public universities

Tier 1 (academic and general staff)

25.0

25.0

25.0

25.0

25.0

Tier 2 (academic and general staff)

37.5

40.0

39.1

33.3

36.4

Tier 3 (academic and general staff)

36.0

41.4

36.4

40.8

47.2

Other authorities

Tier 1

10.5

10.5

5.3

10.0

5.0

Tier 2

16.0

16.1

18.3

19.1

17.6 

Tier 3

19.3

21.1

20.7

19.5

27.0

Note: For Tables 8 and 9, for 2011, the reporting date for LGAs was changed from December 2011 to March 2012. This change resulted in no LGA data for 2011.

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

Table 9 shows the distribution of women across salary levels (equity index) in public employment.20 There has been some improvement this year in the equity index for women in other authorities. This indicates women in other authorities are more evenly distributed across salary levels this year.

Table 9 Distribution (equity index) of women, 2010 to 2014

   

Distribution

   

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Public sector

All staff

67

69

69

71

72

LGAs

Indoor workers

83

n/a

79

81

78

Outdoor workers

92

n/a

87

88

84

Public universities

Academic staff

69

70

71

72

70

General staff

81

82

83

84

85

Other authorities

All staff

77

65

66

65

71

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

DEOPE staffDirector of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment with Public Sector Commission staff

The following case study highlights the Shire of Mundaring's commitment to supporting women in senior leadership roles.

Case study

Shire of Mundaring – Supporting women in leadership roles

The Shire of Mundaring has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting women in leadership roles. This has been achieved through instilling an organisational culture that supports the Shire's values of respect, integrity, diversity and communication. The Shire also has a leadership capability framework to link these values to leadership position outcomes.

Embedding the leadership framework and values into the workplace has been supported by human resource policies that provide for flexibility in work arrangements. One innovative way this has translated into practice is the Shire's support of an onsite,

staff-led crèche. The Shire has designated a room for the crèche that provides after school care for children of staff as required.

The workplace culture, commitment and support for women in the Shire has been a strong attraction incentive for those seeking leadership roles. With 28%21 of senior positions at the Shire being held by women, women are able to continue their senior leadership roles while balancing family commitments such as caring for young children.

People from culturally diverse backgrounds

The Government continues to support and encourage an inclusive workforce that values and supports cultural and linguistic diversity in delivering services. This commitment is demonstrated through:

  • Department of Training and Workforce Development's Western Australian skilled migration strategy, which aims to attract skilled labour from interstate and overseas to support service delivery
  • Office of Multicultural Interests' Western Australian language services policy 2014, which seeks to ensure that people from culturally diverse backgrounds are not restricted in accessing services
  • Office of Multicultural Interests' Multicultural planning framework, which is designed to assist LGAs to integrate multicultural initiatives and principles into planning and reporting processes.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has estimated people from culturally diverse backgrounds make up 14.0% of the population in WA.22 This predominantly includes people from India, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Vietnam and Singapore.

The DEOPE participates in the 'WA culturally and linguistically diverse across government network' (WACAN). This group shares information, knowledge and resources on key issues affecting WA's culturally and linguistically diverse community.

WACAN has most recently addressed a range of employment and training issues, such as raising awareness of 'Diverse WA', which is an online package that trains staff to assist people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The package is hosted by the Department of Local Government and Communities' Office of Multicultural Interests, and was developed in partnership with the Commission.

Table 10 shows the representation of people from culturally diverse backgrounds in public employment over time. There was a small trend downwards for LGAs this year.

Table 10 Representation of people from culturally diverse backgrounds, 2010 to 2014

   

Representation (%)

   

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Public sector

All staff

13.1

13.1

12.7

12.4

12.5

LGAs

Indoor workers

14.6

n/a

19.6

21.4

18.0

Outdoor workers

11.4

n/a

16.0

17.6

15.0

Public universities

Academic staff

22.8

25.4

25.7

27.6^

24.8

General staff

18.8

19.9

19.7

21.5^

20.3

Other authorities

All staff

16.0

17.8

19.6

13.5

12.3

Note: For Tables 10 and 11, for 2011, the reporting date for LGAs was changed from December 2011 to March 2012. This change resulted in no LGA data for 2011.

^Public university representation for 2013 differs from last year's report due to improvements in data collection and reporting.

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

Table 11 shows the distribution of people from culturally diverse backgrounds across salary levels (equity index) in public employment. While there was a decrease for other authorities this year, there were increases for both indoor and outdoor workers in LGAs. This indicates people from culturally diverse backgrounds are slightly more concentrated at higher salary levels in LGAs this year and less so in other authorities.

Table 11 Distribution (equity index) of people from culturally diverse backgrounds, 2010 to 2014

   

Distribution

   

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Public sector

All staff

97

93

96

96

 95

LGAs

Indoor workers

108

n/a

116

112

119

Outdoor workers

103

n/a

108

109

116

Public universities

Academic staff

86

88

88

87

89

General staff

93

92

93

95

96

Other authorities

All staff

154

159

142

153

141

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

The following case study highlights the success of a collaborative seminar series in government on increasing cultural competency to improve the quality of service delivery.

Case study

Mental Health Commission and the Department of Health – 'Let's talk culture'

The 'Let's talk culture' seminar series is championed by the Transcultural Mental Health Service at Royal Perth Hospital, the Mental Health Commission and the Cultural Diversity Unit of the Department of Health. The seminars aim to assist professionals to work in a culturally responsive way with people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

A range of topics are covered at the seminars, such as refugees, alcohol, drugs, stigma, mining, gender and ageing.

Attendees include people from the non-government and government sectors, such as clinicians, policy makers, researchers, educators, students, service users, carers, lawyers, advocacy workers, police officers, general practitioners and professional interpreters.

The series has enabled candid discussions about the impact of mental illness on people from culturally diverse backgrounds, cultural differences surrounding resilience and acceptance, and how to effectively engage with those who receive services.

The popularity and reputation of the seminar series has resulted in registrations for each seminar reaching maximum numbers. A primary reason for this is the capacity to tap into any knowledge gaps identified by the WA community in both metropolitan and regional areas (via video conferencing facility).

The series is the only regular forum that makes a platform available for the wider WA community to debate, discuss and listen to these issues. Comments from participants consistently reaffirm that the seminars are valuable for professional and personal development.

Youth and mature workers

Youth

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has estimated youth (aged 15 to 24 years) make up 20.2% of the working age population (15 to 64 years) in WA.23 Therefore, supporting youth employment and services are critical to the future of the WA workforce.

The Department of Local Government and Communities has developed Our youth – Our future, a whole-of-government framework to guide integrated youth programs and service planning into the future. In addition, through the 'Youth matters' project, the WA State Training Board is conducting research into understanding the employer's perspective on employing young people, the obligation to have 'youth friendly' recruitment practices and the benefits of having youth in the workforce.

The DEOPE is supportive of the Commission's traineeship programs, which are aimed at those less than 25 years of age who are seeking to enter the public sector workforce. The programs include streams for school based traineeships and Aboriginal traineeships. They prepare youth for a career in the public sector by teaching administrative skills that may lead to a Certificate in Government.

Table 12 shows the representation of youth in public employment over time.24 There was a small trend upwards for LGAs and general university staff this year.

Table 12 Representation of youth, 2010 to 2014

   

Representation (%)

   

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Public sector

All staff

5.5

5.5

5.4

5.1

4.6 

LGAs

Indoor workers

15.0

n/a

11.4

14.2

15.5

Outdoor workers

10.1

n/a

6.4

7.0

8.5

Public universities

Academic staff

2.4

4.1

2.4

3.3

2.9

General staff

8.1

9.6

8.0

8.3

9.6

Other authorities

All staff

6.8

6.1

5.6

6.3

6.2

Note: For 2011, the reporting date for LGAs was changed from December 2011 to March 2012. This change resulted in no LGA data for 2011.

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

The following case study outlines a public sector program in place to foster youth employment.

Case study

Youth in the State Solicitor's office

The State Solicitor's Office (SSO), within DotAG, has developed strategies to successfully recruit, develop and retain graduates, in an approach aimed at supporting long-term careers.

The SSO identifies and recruits graduates, who are in their final year of university and demonstrating high levels of talent, to enter the program in their following year, with a view to retention by the SSO on completion of the program.

The SSO promotes the program through the annual 'Law careers fair', and through close links with local universities. Features of the program include:

  • assignment of a supervisor/coach over the four year program who is an information source for career management and development
  • learning opportunities through rotation in various SSO practice areas and other public authorities
  • increased support for younger practitioners in building resilience for managing busy workloads.

The program is well known and popular with the legal sector, receiving around 230 applications each year, of which six to seven graduates are recruited.

Mature workers

The Australian Bureau of Statistics identifies mature persons as those aged 45 to 64 years.25 As part of the DEOPE's work this year to better support public authorities to achieve improved diversity outcomes, a review of the definition of 'mature workers' for reporting purposes is being considered.

It is estimated that mature persons (45 to 64 years) make up 37.0% of the working age population (15 to 64 years) in WA.26

Mature workers make a significant contribution to the performance development of others in the workplace through sharing their years of corporate knowledge and practical experience.27

Table 13 shows the representation of mature persons in public employment over time.28 There was a slight upward trend in some sectors this year.

Table 13 Representation of mature workers, 2010 to 2014

   

Representation (%)

   

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Public sector

All staff

51.7

51.9

51.9

51.9

52.4

LGAs

Indoor workers

38.7

n/a

37.2

37.5

40.5

Outdoor workers

56.6

n/a

53.3

56.2

53.4

Public universities

Academic staff

42.0

46.1

39.3

40.4

37.4

General staff

30.9

33.1

37.0

35.0

37.3

Other authorities

All staff

45.8

46.8

45.3

41.6

42.9

Note: For 2011, the reporting date for LGAs was changed from December 2011 to March 2012. This change resulted in no LGA data for 2011.

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

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Inclusive culture

An inclusive culture welcomes people from all diversity groups into the workplace, with respect for differences and equity.

The Commission surveys the workplace views of WA public sector staff each year through the employee perception survey (EPS). The EPS evaluates staff perceptions of organisational issues, such as equity and diversity.

In analysing this year's EPS data, the DEOPE observed public sector entities continue to build an inclusive workplace culture. Figure 7 shows at least four out of five public sector respondents agreed their co-workers and supervisor treat employees from all diversity groups with respect, their public sector entity is committed to a diverse workforce, and their workplace culture is equally welcoming of all diversity groups.

Figure 7 Public sector employee views on equity and diversity in their workplace, 2014

Public sector employee views on equity and diversity in their workplace, 2014 Source: EPS

This year, for the first time, each public authority was asked through the Commission's public sector entity survey and EEO surveys about the EEO initiatives they had actioned during the year. Public authorities most commonly reported actioning:

  • policies and programs to promote discrimination free employment and EEO
  • collection and recording of data on employment of people from diversity groups
  • the designation of persons responsible for monitoring and implementing EEO initiatives.

The following case study outlines a successful program to create an inclusive culture that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) staff and students at the University of Western Australia.

Case study

University of Western Australia – The ALLY initiative

While the University of Western Australia (UWA) has generally been an accepting environment for LGBTI students and staff, the 'ALLY program' was established to ensure that people did not feel they had to hide some aspect of their identity at the university.

An 'ALLY' is someone who is informed about, sensitive toward, and understanding of, LGBTI people and their experiences. The 'ALLY program' aims to increase awareness of the issues faced by those with a diverse sexual orientation or gender identity.

The program was implemented through a cultural change strategy, developed through extensive consultation. The initiative was innovative in that it was targeted at heterosexual staff and students. 'ALLY' workshops became a regular feature on the staff development calendar. Additionally, lectures on sexual and gender diversity were also included in the curriculum of degrees leading to a professional qualification.

Reports from newly recruited staff indicated the inclusive culture with specific awareness and understanding of diverse sexualities and genders had attracted them to working at UWA. Many students have also reported how positive it has been to join a progressive and inclusive university.

The 'ALLY program', now structurally embedded at UWA, has provided the springboard for a wide range of LGBTI inclusion strategies over the past decade and has been emulated in many higher education institutions across Australia. UWA has been recognised as one of Australia's 'Top 10 employers – LGBTI workplace inclusion' for four consecutive years, since the inception of the awards, through the 'Australian workplace equality index'.

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Identification of diversity status

The low rate of employee identification in relation to diversity status continues to present an issue for public authorities. While the data is important for planning and monitoring purposes, it also forms the foundation for evaluating the effectiveness of programs and initiatives in place to support diversity groups.

The provision of some diversity information, such as Aboriginal, disability and culturally diverse background status, is voluntary and confidential. Consequently, as with any large anonymous data collection that is not mandatory, representation may be underestimated.

This leaves a gap in the knowledge and understanding of diversity in public employment. To further investigate this issue, diversity status reported by employees (from a sample of public sector entities) responding to the Commission's 2014 EPS was compared with HRMOIR data provided separately by the same entities to the Commission.

There was little difference in Aboriginal representation data between HRMOIR and the EPS responses for the public sector sample. However, for people with disability, 3.9% of EPS respondents identified as having disability, compared to 2.7% of employees for the same entities in HRMOIR. It may be that some people feel more comfortable in disclosing their diversity status through an independent survey not administered by their workplace.

While individual identification of diversity status will remain optional and confidential, the DEOPE intends to further consult with public authorities in the coming year to identify any possible areas of improvement in collecting this data. This will ensure a clearer picture of representation and a sound basis for future decision making on government programs and priorities.


8 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013, 2002.0 – Census of population and housing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (Indigenous) profile, 2011 third release.

9 Ibid.

10 Each year, public sector entities provide workforce data, including EEO data, through the HRMOIR process. If an employee moves to another entity, the data for that individual is not retained in HRMOIR and will only be captured if the new entity collects EEO data for that individual.

11 The equity index measures the distribution of a diversity group across salary levels. The ideal index is 100, with an index of less than 100 indicating that a diversity group is concentrated at lower salary levels.

12 Source: EEO survey data provided to the DEOPE by the Water Corporation in 2013 and 2014.

13 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, 2011 Census of population and housing.

14 Each year, public sector entities provide workforce data, including EEO data, through the HRMOIR process. If an employee moves to another entity, the data for that individual is not retained in HRMOIR and will only be captured if the new entity collects EEO data for that individual.

15 Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency 2012, 2012 Australian census of women in leadership.

16 Department of Local Government and Communities 2014, Being board ready: a guide for women.

17 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006, 4102.0 – Australian social trends, 2006.

18 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014, 'Women's participation in the labour force lower than men's' media release.

19 Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 'Behind the gender pay gap' webpage.

20 Distribution is not available for women in management because salary levels closely correlate with age and experience.

21 EEO survey received by the DEOPE from the Shire of Mundaring.

22 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, 2011 Census of population and housing.

23 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, 2011 Census of population and housing.

24 For data collected by the Commission, 'youth' includes all employees aged less than 25 years, not just those between 15 and 24 years. For youth, distribution (equity index) is not available because salary levels closely correlate with age and experience.

25 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005, 4905.0.55.001 – Mature age persons statistical profile: Living arrangements, Feb 2005.

26 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, 2011 Census of population and housing.

27 Department of Training and Workforce Development 2013, A revision of Skilling WA – a workforce development plan for Western Australia, Discussion paper 1: Participation in the Western Australian workforce.

28 For data collected by the Commission, 'mature workers' includes all employees aged 45 years and over, not just those between 45 and 64 years. For mature workers, distribution (equity index) is not available because salary levels closely correlate with age and experience.


Page last updated 2 October 2014