Equal Employment Opportunity Annual Report – 1988 EEO Activities

July 1987 to June 1988

The considerable groundwork undertaken before enactment of the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987, paved the way for substantial progress on EEO programme development and implementation in 1987/88. This is summarised below under the headings of Section 6 of the Act.

Section 6(a): Informing Employees

Communication with staff on EEO during 1987/88 was focused mainly on:

  • the statistical survey of staff, conducted in September 1987; and
  • consultation by liaison groups in each branch and department (see Section 6[d] below).

In May 1988, there was an initial report to staff on the results of the survey and on the ways the data would be used.

A second two-year plan covering the period January 1988 to December 1989 was also developed (Appendix 1) and publicised throughout the Bank.

Section 6(b): Conferring Responsibility

The EEO Policy Committee has responsibility for overseeing policy and monitoring its implementation. The composition and terms of reference of this committee are in Appendix 2.

At the working level, the EEO Unit, consisting of an EEO Co-ordinator and Assistant EEO Co-ordinator, established within the Personnel Department at the Bank's Head Office carries the main day-to-day responsibilities for EEO activities. This unit has direct contact with Personnel Officers in each of the administrative departments and branches of the Bank and with the managers of those departments/branches. Managers have responsibility for EEO activities and observance of EEO principles in their respective areas.

Section 6(c): Consultation with Trade Unions

The Bank consults with trade unions covering its staff on a wide range of employment-related issues and has included EEO in this consultative process. Consultation on specific EEO matters during the current year covered:

  • format of the statistical survey of staff;
  • support for this survey;
  • proposed changes to existing recruitment procedures;
  • proposals for establishing grievance review procedures.

Unions received material to keep them closely informed of EEO developments including copies of the two-year plan for 1988 and 1989.

Section 6(d): Consultation with Employees

During the year, EEO liaison groups were set up in each branch and in departments to talk with staff individually or in small groups on EEO-related issues and to compile confidential reports on these discussions. The focus was mainly on staff perceptions of problems and suggestions for change.

The exercise was approached in four stages:

  • development of plan — June to September 1987;
  • liaison groups established and briefed — October to November 1987;
  • interviews conducted and group reports submitted — November 1987 to May 1988;
  • reports summarised by EEO Unit — May to June 1988.

Liaison groups spoke with 1,635 people, a little over half of the total staff. Views encountered most commonly included:

  • opportunities to progress and to broaden skills are limited in some areas;
  • on-the-job training needs to be improved;
  • the handling of staff appraisals and promotions/appeals should be altered.

Concern was also expressed about inadequate communication between management and staff.

Section 6(e): Collection of Statistics

The statistical survey of staff was conducted in September 1987.

Problems were encountered in some areas in achieving a high level of participation in the survey. However, the aggregate response of approximately 78 percent has been judged adequate as a framework of reference for the development of an EEO programme for the Bank's staff, with particular reference to the groups identified in the legislation. Survey information will be kept up to date in respect of new entrants to and exits from Bank staff.

The employment profile of the Bank derived from the survey is provided in Appendix 3.

Its principal features are summarised below:

  • About 48 percent of respondents to the survey were women (this compares with an actual proportion of 45 per cent at the time of the survey). Some occupations were dominated either by men or women. For instance women were more highly represented in clerical support areas such as keyboard and records, and in catering and cleaning. Differences in average earnings of men and women in the Bank to a large extent reflected differences in education, job distribution and length of service;
  • Nine percent of respondents were migrants of non-English speaking background. These people were more highly represented in service occupations such as cleaning and catering than were staff of English speaking background;
  • About 8 percent of respondents were born in Australia to parents of non-English speaking background. This group of staff generally showed similar earning and occupational patterns to staff of English speaking background;
  • About 5 percent of respondents reported some level of physical disability. Most acquired their disabilities after joining the service; they had similar earning and occupational patterns to other staff;
  • Seven respondents (less than 1 percent) identified themselves as Aboriginals or Torres Strait Islanders.

Section 6(f): Consideration of Policies and Examination of Practices

Work which started in a number of personnel areas before enactment of the legislation progressed during the year.

Recruitment— A revised Recruitment Guidelines Manual was issued in December 1987. A related training package has been introduced. Partly as a result of changes in recruitment arrangements, the mix of new recruits by both age and ethnic background has become much more diverse in the past three years.

Promotions and Appeals— A working paper on procedures was completed in December 1987. Proposals for change are being considered in conjunction with reports from the EEO liaison groups to ensure staff views are taken into account.

Job Analysis — A wide-ranging job analysis programme is in train with the help of an external consultant. The aims are to improve job descriptions and assist in reviews of staff appraisals, training needs and job classification arrangements.

Training Needs— Personnel Department's training group is reviewing the Bank's training programmes.

Grievance Procedures — Agreed new procedures emphasise resolving grievances in the workplace by placing primary responsibility for resolution with supervisors and managers; appropriate training is to be provided to nominated local grievance officers. A Grievance Authority commenced operations in September 1988 and is to handle grievances which cannot be resolved locally. It comprises an independent chairperson, a Bank representative and a union representative. Major unions representing Bank staff support the initiative and have nominated representatives to act on the authority.

English Language Programmes — English in the Workplace programmes were conducted in Head Office and Sydney Branch. The programmes were run by the New South Wales Adult Migrant Education Service. Nineteen members of staff participated in courses from March to June 1988. Two further courses commenced in the second week of August 1988.

Part-time Work— In December 1987 the Bank introduced arrangements whereby women completing maternity leave can work part-time for up to six months prior to recommencing full-time duties. Eight officers took advantage of the new provision during the year.

In its initial appraisal of the survey of staff and liaison group reports, the EEO Policy Committee concluded that the material confirmed the importance of the reviews of personnel policies and practices already in train.

At the close of the year, the EEO Unit was developing proposals for the Bank's further response to detailed findings of the survey and liaison group reports.

Section 6(g): Setting Objectives

In January 1988, a two-year plan was drawn up with the following objectives:

  • to outline the tasks needed to meet objectives within an agreed timeframe;
  • to assign specific responsibilities and resources;
  • to enable management and staff to be informed on progress and to contribute to meeting the objectives.

On acceptance by the Bank, copies of this plan (see Appendix 1) were sent to managers of all departments and branches and to all trade unions represented in the Bank's staff.

Staff were informed by means of an article in the Bank's in-house newssheet.

The Bank's commitment to equal opportunity in employment also featured in undertakings given by the Bank to constituent unions in second tier salary negotiations during the course of the year.

Section 6(h): Monitoring and Evaluation

Lack of a comprehensive statistical coverage of existing staff structures has constrained the scope for monitoring and evaluating overall programme initiatives during the current year. Evidence of monitoring in specific areas of personnel policy is contained within this report. Information which became available during 1987/88 from the statistical survey of staff and liaison group reports was still being analysed and appraised at the close of the year. Its availability will materially assist the further development of the Bank's EEO programme and arrangements for monitoring and evaluating its implementation.