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Research reveals support for inclusion in workplaces is up among one of the most resistant groups

MEDIA RELEASE: 28 November 2019: Diversity Council Australia’s (DCA) 2019-2020 Inclusion@Work Index shows that support for diversity and inclusion (D&I) is up among men – traditionally the group least likely to strongly support, and one of the groups most likely to oppose such initiatives.

Data from the research shows that men’s overall support for D&I has increased to 74% (from 69% in 2017) and the proportion of men who strongly support D&I has increased significantly to 38% (from 31% in 2017). This shift is important amid wider cultural tensions, where D&I can be seen as ‘PC gone mad’, and men sometimes feel victimised and excluded at the expense of minority groups.

In further good news, the findings showed renewed support for D&I across the board, revealing that:

  • 43% of workers strongly support their organisation taking action to create a diverse and inclusive workplace – up from 37% in 2017. Only 3% still oppose any kind of action (same as in 2017).
  • LGBTIQ+ workers are most likely to be strongly supportive – 59%, up from 50% in 2017.
  • Inclusion benefits everyone, boosting employee performance and wellbeing across the board, not just among people from target or minority groups.

While the broad picture is positive, work still needs to be done, with data showing that:

  • 29% of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander workers agree they have to hide or change who they are at work to fit in, compared to 18% of non-Indigenous workers.
  • Workers with a disability are twice as likely as workers without disability to have experienced discrimination and/or harassment, and to have felt excluded in the past year.
  • For LGBTIQ+ workers, the experience of discrimination and/or harassment in the past year is a worrying 44% compared to 25% of non-LGBTIQ+ workers.

Leading and lagging industries included:

  • In both 2017 and 2019, workers in Financial and Insurance Services were significantly more likely to experience Inclusion@Work, while workers in Manufacturing were significantly less likely to.

Led by DCA and Suncorp, the 2019-2020 Inclusion@Work Index surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3,000 Australian workers and clearly identifies the benefits of inclusion, and the need for Australian companies to put words into action and invest in creating inclusive places to work.

DCA CEO Lisa Annese said, “DCA is proud to present this updated report, which continues to show that Inclusion@Work does matter to Australian workers, that it benefits everyone and boosts employee performance and wellbeing.

“Of course, this report also shows that some groups – our First Nations People, people with a disability, and people with an LGBTIQ+ identity or attribute – experience more exclusion than their colleagues.

“For their sake, it’s important that we share the positive findings of the report far and wide. Getting the message out that inclusion benefits everyone will help Australian organisations shape diversity and inclusion programs that are responsive to the needs of a changing and diverse workforce.”

Amanda Revis, Suncorp Group’s Chief People Experience Officer said creating an inclusive workplace was fundamental to a successful organisation.

“A feeling of inclusion is fundamental to everyone’s wellbeing. Work is such a big part of our lives, so it is vital that we track and understand what inclusion looks like in our workplaces. Having a diverse workforce is only one part of the equation – inclusion is critical to ensuring that everyone can be themselves. At Suncorp, we recognise that a fairer and more inclusive culture benefits our people, customers and communities.

“The insights in the Inclusion@Work Index will help to make our workforces strong, more resilient and better supported.”

Download a copy of the infographic and synopsis report or contact DCA for the members-only full report (due to be launched on 5 December 2019). Some state-based results are available for specific survey questions on request. 

Websites: Diversity Council Australia and Suncorp

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