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Diversifying diversity exposes key D&I considerations


Diversifying diversity is no easy feat. So often when we talk of diversity in the workplace, the focus is on gender. However, while acknowledging that gender diversity remains a vital issue (and we have produced several reports on this critical matter here), we must also be front footed in our need to ensure that we look beyond gender and consciously widen our terms of reference when we consider diversity – in other words, we need to diversify diversity.

To understand how employers currently stand when viewing their workforce and workplace through this wider diversity and inclusion lens, we recently surveyed over 1,000 working professionals across Australia and New Zealand in order to identify key diversity and inclusion considerations.

A snapshot of key findings follows.

On the positive side, 42 per cent of respondents said their line manager is female, up from 39 per cent in 2017. Yet few respondents have a line manager who is of BAME heritage (6 per cent), identifies as LGBTIQ+ (2 per cent), is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (1 per cent), is Maori (1 per cent) or who lives with a disclosed disability (1 per cent).

Also revealing is that only 37 per cent said their organisation implements diversity and inclusion targets or KPIs. One reason could be that only half understand the business benefits.

Just two in five (38 per cent) survey respondents said their employer takes every opportunity to create a workplace culture that is more diverse and inclusive.

What’s more, while an inclusive culture is supported through diversity and inclusion training for people managers, only 34 per cent of survey respondents said people managers are given training to help them ensure diversity and inclusion.

Talent management
Another illuminating finding of this year’s research was that 83 per cent of respondents living with a disclosed disability, 78 per cent of those of BAME heritage, 77 per cent of women, 67 per cent who identify as LGBTIQ+ and 64 per cent of mature-age people say their chances for career progression have been limited because of their disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or age.

Less than one-quarter (24 per cent) feel their organisation actively works to develop under-represented groups into leadership roles.

Employee wellbeing
Almost four in five (78 per cent) said they were aware of mental health considerations in their current or previous workplace. Several demographic groups were more likely to have observed such issues: 81 per cent of women (compared to 74 per cent of men), and 92 per cent of both people living with a disclosed disability and those who identify as LGBTIQ+.

Our recommendations
Based on these findings, we put forward the following recommendations to enhance diversity and inclusion considerations and success factors:


  • Identify and promote diverse role models;
  • Lead from the front as conscious and self-aware champions of change;
  • Understand employee sentiment towards your leadership style;
  • Publicly support diversity and inclusion initiatives;
  • Collect diversity and inclusion data and use it to inform your leadership training decisions; and
  • Use diversity and inclusion data to demonstrate the link to business performance.



  • Support key diversity and inclusion events to reflect the varied backgrounds and cultures that make up a business;
  • Use internal staff communications to celebrate diversity and inclusion initiatives;
  • Report on the success of diversity and inclusion policies;
  • Encourage debate and diversity of thought so all employees feel their voice is respected and valued; and
  • Use data to help inform and measure the success of D&I commitments and investment.


Talent management:

  • Source talent from the widest pool;
  • Mitigate bias when reviewing CVs;
  • Use a diverse interview panel with different perspectives and demographic profiles;
  • Be aware that perceptions of barriers to career progression exist;
  • Promote your inclusive progression practices and policies;
  • Implement practices and policies which support equal opportunities for progression for all;
  • Ensure training at managerial level prioritises bias mitigation; and
  • Implement practices and policies which support equal opportunities for progression for all, such as flexible working opportunities;


Employee wellbeing:

  • Access available resources to create a mentally healthy workplace;
  • Be aware of anti-bullying laws and follow correct procedures; and
  • Make staff more aware of EAP initiatives. 

Selected demographics

When reading this blog, you may have wondered why we selected the demographics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, BAME, people living with disclosed disabilities, gender, people who identify as LGBTIQ+, Māori and mature-age.

The concept of diversity is a very wide (and increasing) one. For the purpose of our FY 2018-19 survey, we elected to focus on these demographics, however if you would like to see us expand our diversity and inclusion lens further in FY 2019-20, we welcome your suggestions.

Request your free copy of our FY 2018-19 Hays Diversity & Inclusion Report here.

About the author


Nick Deligiannis

Managing Director

Nick Deligiannis began working at Hays in 1993 and over the 22 years he has been with the company has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business, including the role of Director responsible for the operation of Hays in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors, and was made Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

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