People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

As at 2016, almost two fifths (39.7 per cent) of Western Australians were born overseas. 10 As we become more globalised and connected, WA is well placed to strengthen and grow our relationships with countries in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. Cultural diversity in public employment at all levels is of increasing importance as we seek to best serve our richly multicultural communities. 11

The DEOPE recognises the strong case for harnessing the benefits of our cultural diversity to prevent lost productivity and the underutilisation of our workforce. In collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Interests, the DEOPE has progressed consultation and development of an employment strategy for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

An emerging issue for the community is the employment barriers skilled migrants experience. Despite bringing professional qualifications and skills, research has shown recognition of this talent by prospective employers remains lacking, particularly for migrant women. 12

The DEOPE was made aware of the challenges faced by skilled migrants first hand this year when the Commission participated in a pilot English language pathways program run by North Metropolitan TAFE. Two students who do not speak English as a first language, one from India and one from Iran, completed two weeks’ work experience with the Commission. Completing the placement increased the public employment potential of both students as they seek to secure permanent work in Western Australia.

11 392 employees identify as CaLD in the public sector

Diversity snapshot - People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Compared with 2016, 567 more public sector employees identified as having a CaLD background.

The data reflects an equitable spread of employees from CaLD backgrounds across salary bands. People from this diversity group are well represented at higher salary bands with 38 members of the Senior Executive Service identifying as coming from a CaLD background.

A large portion of CaLD employees are in nursing, teaching and clerical roles. 

At salary band 1, many CaLD employees work as school and hospital cleaners and education aides.

Strengthening re​lationships

The DEOPE recognises the benefit of engaging with CaLD stakeholders to strengthen partnerships and share good work. In February, the DEOPE undertook a series of consultations to develop a range of ideas for the strategy, specifically on the collective goals of ‘recognise, strategise and optimise’.

The DEOPE also presented to the Mirrabooka Multicultural Centre Advisory Network in April and the Western Australian culturally and linguistically diverse across-government network in May.

The program, A Global Workforce run by the Office of Multicultural Interests, seeks to assist migrants to gain employment and increase their workforce participation. The DEOPE and Public Sector Commissioner remain active representatives of the program’s steering committee.

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Representation of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds 

  Category of employment

Representation (%)

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Public sector

Public sector (All staff)

12.4

12.5

12.4

12.6

12.7

Local governments (LGA)

LGA (Indoor workers)

21.4

18.0

15.7

17.9

11.7

LGA (Outdoor workers)

17.6

15.0

12.5

12.0

9.9

Public universities

Public universities (Academic staff)

27.6

24.8

26.4

30.1

15.0

Public universities (General staff)

21.5

20.3

21.4

22.2

14.1

Other authorities

Other authorities (All staff)

13.5

12.3

12.5

13.4

12.5

Distribution (equity index) of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds​​ 

  Category of employment

Distribution

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Public sector

Public sector (All staff)

96

95

96

98

100

Local governments (LGA)

LGA (Indoor workers)

112

119

136

95

99

LGA (Outdoor workers)

109

116

116

81

105

Public universities

Public universities (Academic staff)

87

89

87

90

94

Public universities (General staff)

95

96

88

91

91

Other authorities

Other authorities (All staff)

153

141

119

136

128

Since 2016, the DEOPE, Public Sector Commissioner and the Office of Multicultural Interests have collaborated to develop the shared outcome of a more diverse, representative and inclusive workforce.

In 2017, the partnership has continued further with community and stakeholder engagement to raise awareness of our shared commitment to cultural diversity.

Key partner

Office of Multicultural Interests

Helen Maddocks, Manager, Strategy and Planning

‘The Office of Multicultural Interests has benefited from a strong partnership with the DEOPE and the Public Sector Commission to further its Leadership and Governance Program and employment opportunities for people from CaLD backgrounds.

Harmony Week in 2016 marked the beginning of the partnership and provided an opportunity for the Public Sector Commissioner, Mal Wauchope AO, to highlight the role communities can play in terms of the public sector’s governance and accountability frameworks. This led to participation by selected representatives in developing a public sector CaLD employment strategy. 

We look forward to ongoing collaboration that will harness the potential of our multicultural community through representation in public employment, and on agency boards and committees.’

 

10 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017, Cultural Diversity in Australia: 2016 Census Article, June 2017 cat. no. 2071.0.

11 Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) 2016, Leading for Change: A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership.

12 M. O’Dwyer and V. Colic-Peisker. Facilitating the professional transition of migrants in Australia: does gender matter. Australian Journal of Social Issues 2016;51(1):47.

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Page last updated 14 September 2017