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In their eyes: the lived experience of underrepresented minorities


No one should find themselves facing barriers when seeking to access and actively participate in the world of work and achieve their full potential. But the lived experience of certain underrepresented demographic groups across Australia and New Zealand highlights several particular aspects that might unwittingly be holding people back.

In my previous blog, I shared some findings from our FY 2018-19 Hays Diversity & Inclusion Report on the current state of maturity and sentiment of over 1,000 survey respondents on a number of, in our view, vital diversity and inclusion considerations and success factors.

In our report we also share an aggregated snapshot of the participation and current lived experience for a number of known underrepresented demographic groups in Australia and New Zealand’s world of work. These are also based on the insights of our survey respondents and include the following.

A snapshot of the lived experience of certain groups
We found that the lack of diverse role models is one key barrier identified by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in particular. According to survey respondents, less than 1 per cent (0.78 per cent) have an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander line manager. This was the lowest representation of all demographic groups surveyed in Australia.

There is also a shortage of Māori role models in New Zealand. According to survey respondents, only 1 per cent have a Māori line manager. For less than 1 per cent (0.79 per cent) the most senior person in the organisation is Māori.

Of our survey respondents of BAME heritage, just 27 per cent said their employer seizes every opportunity to create a workplace culture which is more diverse and inclusive. This was the lowest of all groups surveyed.

Respondents living with a disclosed disability were the least likely to believe that their organisation’s leaders fully understand the business benefits of diversity and inclusion. Another revealing finding was that just 34 per cent trust their leaders to deliver change on the diversity and inclusion agenda.

Alarmingly in the last 12 months, 13 per cent of women and 8 per cent of men have been asked in a job interview about their plans to have children or their caring responsibilities. Of those who said yes, 22 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men think it impacted their chance of securing the job.

Turning to our respondents who identify as LGBTIQ+, over half (58 per cent) said they have experienced bullying or harassment at work due to their sexual orientation. Just 21 per cent feel that their organisation actively works to develop underrepresented groups into leadership roles.

Finally, only 41 per cent of mature-age people ask their manager for career advice at least one a year, the lowest of the demographic groups we surveyed. This suggests that more support is needed for mature-age employees to feel comfortable requesting career guidance, particularly when their line manager is younger than them.

For more detailed insights on the perceptions and sentiments of our survey respondents, please 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 since then he has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors. He was made Managing Director of 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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