Equal Employment Opportunity Annual Report – 1989 EEO Activities 1988/89

Details of the Bank's EEO activities in 1988/89 are summarised below under the headings of Section 6 of the Act.

Section 6(a): Informing Employees

A variety of channels is used to keep staff informed on EEO matters, including:

  • in “Currency”, the Bank's monthly magazine for staff; “Staff Matters”, an occasional newsletter on personnel issues; “Information Digest”, a weekly newssheet to management of all branches and departments; reports prepared by the Bank's EEO liaison groups; and the Bank's 1987/88 EEO Annual Report;
  • sessions in the Bank's training courses, particularly those on management and supervision;
  • presentations to management, including the Bank's senior internal policy committee (to which an annual report, for each calendar year, is presented) and also to branch and departmental groups; and
  • small-group discussions and individual consultations with the EEO Co-ordinator; these have been used particularly for consultations with women and other designated groups.

Matters covered in communication with staff have ranged from the EEO legislation and the Bank's EEO administrative framework to, on a policy level, the EEO plan (see Appendix 1 of the Bank's 1987/88 EEO Annual Report) and specific policy issues for women and other designated groups. The latter have included such matters as: development of an Aboriginal employment policy; job segmentation; and development of more flexible working conditions. Many of these issues were raised in reports of the Bank's EEO liaison groups. These groups did much to raise awareness of EEO activities.

Section 6(b): Conferring Responsibility

The Bank's EEO Policy Committee oversees policy and monitors its implementation. The Committee's composition is given in Appendix 2 of the Bank's 1987/88 EEO Annual Report. Changes in the Committee's membership during 1988/89 were announced to staff.

The EEO Unit, consisting of an EEO Co-ordinator and Assistant EEO Co-ordinator within the Bank's Personnel Department, continues to have the main day-to-day responsibility for EEO activities. A new Co-ordinator was appointed in October 1988, following retirement of the previous occupant.

The EEO Unit is in constant touch on EEO matters with Personnel Officers in each department and branch as well as with managers of those departments and branches.

Managers are responsible for EEO activities in their areas. Responsibility for resolution of grievances also rests primarily with managers although the Bank's Grievance Authority has an adjudicating role in resolving difficult grievances.

Section 6(c): Consultation with Trade Unions

The Bank and trade unions had discussions in 1988/89 on a number of EEO-related issues, including:

  • how best to inform staff about EEO activities;
  • ways to implement the EEO programme;
  • ways to make working conditions more flexible; and
  • collection of outstanding returns from the EEO statistical survey.

A substantial amount of material was provided to unions to inform them about the Bank's EEO activities.

Section 6 (d): Consultation with Employees

In 1987/88 EEO liaison groups prepared reports following consultations with over half of the Bank's staff, either individually or in small groups. Particular emphasis was given in these consultations to staff perceptions of problems and suggestions for change.

In 1988/89, using the liaison groups' reports on their consultations, the EEO Co-ordinator consulted with management and staff, either individually or in groups, on a wide range of issues.

Section 6(e): Collection of Statistics

Statistical work in 1988/89 has built on the basis provided by the statistical survey in September 1987.

That survey provided a snapshot profile of Bank staff and a statistical base to monitor changes in the staff structure. Main results were reported in the Bank's 1987/88 EEO Annual Report.

The initial response rate to the survey was 78 per cent which, although high compared with many like surveys, was below what the Bank considered satisfactory. Some employees simply exercised the right not to fill in the forms; others were uneasy about answering questions on some topics, e.g. disabilities and ethnic background. In addition, a few questions seemed to have been misunderstood. In the past year, efforts have been made to redress these problems and to reduce gaps in the survey. As a result, overall coverage has been increased to 85 per cent. The bulk of the remaining gap is in a specialised area of the Bank. If that area is excluded, coverage in the rest of the Bank is 96 per cent.

Statistical information of relevance to EEO was also collected in 1988/89 from those joining and leaving the Bank. In this way, a more up-to-date series has been maintained on numbers of staff in the designated groups.

A review is being made of how best to produce a data base of EEO statistics on matters such as recruitment, promotions, transfers and training opportunities. This work is drawing on personnel information from the Bank's computer file. Initial results from that review are noted in Section 6(h).

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

Work on EEO-related matters has continued on a number of fronts.

  • Grievances: Since September 1988, the Bank has:
    • put in place a new set of grievance procedures, which put the main responsibility for resolving grievances on supervisors, and managers;
    • established, after consultation with relevant unions, a Grievance Authority, to deal with grievances that cannot be resolved within local work areas. The authority is chaired by an independent person and has other members nominated by the Bank and unions; and
    • appointed twenty-five grievance officers, as initial points of contact for employees with a grievance. A training programme is being developed for these officers.

    During 1988/89, three grievances were referred to the Grievance Authority.

    • Training: An analysis of the Bank's training needs has been made. This has assisted in development of additional training courses and redesign of existing courses. EEO material has been included in all courses for managers and supervisors.
    • Recruitment: Training courses for recruitment officers were conducted in 1988/89, using a new training package devised the previous year. The courses covered selection methods, interview techniques and the role of aptitude tests.
    • Job Analysis: The Bank is engaged in a large project to gather information on the nature and requirements of classified positions. This should assist in improving decisions on job classifications, training and promotions.
    • Promotions: A review of the promotions process has been completed.

    In addition, initiatives this year include:

    • Job Classifications: The structure of classified positions in the Bank is being reviewed. One aim is to increase opportunities for staff to gain a wider variety of skills and experience.
    • Aboriginal Employment: A comprehensive programme for Aboriginal employment is being developed. This is being done in consultation with the Warrigal Aboriginal Support Group and the Aboriginal Affairs Programme in the Department of Employment, Education and Training. Matters being covered include recruitment, career development and training for Aboriginal staff and an awareness programme for staff generally.
  • Employment of People with Disabilities: The statistical survey revealed a larger-than-expected number of staff with disabilities. In 1988/89, an earlier review of facilities within the Bank for people with disabilities was updated. In addition, information is being collected for development of an employment programme for people with disabilities, with a view to increasing employment opportunities for this group.
  • Job Design: Views of some staff reported by EEO Liaison Groups suggested a need to redesign jobs, especially in keyboard and records areas, to increase career opportunities for women. Some changes were made in 1988/89 but a more wide-ranging set of proposals is being developed.
  • English Language Programme: “English in the Workplace” programmes were conducted in 1988/89. Eighteen staff members participated. Similar programmes are to be conducted in 1989/90 if staff want them.
  • Part-time Work: Ten women completing maternity leave have taken advantage of arrangements for part-time work, for up to six months prior to recommencing full-time duties. Extension of these arrangements beyond six months is currently being examined.

Section 6(g): Setting Objectives and Selecting Indicators

The Bank's two-year EEO plan, for 1988 and 1989, provided the framework for EEO activities this year.

Objectives of that plan were:

  • 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.

The plan gave a number of benchmarks to be achieved over the two years. Using those benchmarks, achievements in 1988/89 included:

EEO Survey

  • increased response rate;
  • use of the survey results to identify priorities (e.g. under representation of Aboriginals).

Liaison Group Reports

  • use of reports to identify problem areas and priorities (e.g. narrow career opportunities for clerical support staff).

Grievance Procedures

  • introduction of new grievance procedures;
  • establishment of Grievance Authority;
  • appointment of grievance officers;
  • training programme being developed for grievance officers;
  • initial cases heard.

For the designated groups, a number of objectives have been developed:

  • to increase career opportunities;
  • to reduce job segmentation;
  • to increase employment opportunities for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and people with disabilities; and
  • to provide sufficient opportunities to learn English for people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Section 6 (h): Monitoring and Evaluation

Efforts were made in 1988/89 to develop indicators that would enable the Bank to monitor progress in achieving its EEO objectives. Indicators of an increase in career opportunities, for instance, statistics on average incomes, recruitment and promotion have been compiled for women and the other designated groups as compared with total staff. For women the indicators include: ratio of females' average income to males' average income; and ratios of females to males by income ranges, occupational groups, recruitment and promotion.

Interpretation of these statistics poses a number of difficulties. In particular, staff numbers have fallen sharply over the past two years, assisted by voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes. Staff who left the Bank under these schemes were long-serving officers, predominantly males in relatively high-income ranges. Also, statistics for June 1989 are not fully comparable with those from the EEO Survey of September 1987 because of differences in how the two sets of data have been collected.

Nonetheless, initial readings of the Bank's EEO statistical series show:

  • an increase in the ratio of females' average income to total staff average income; as indicated, this result reflects, at least partly, the effects of voluntary redundancies and early retirements;
  • within income groups, a tendency for the ratio of females to males to increase in the higher income groups; this has also been influenced by voluntary redundancies and early retirements;
  • for occupational groups, a rise in the ratio of females to males in the clerical administrative and technical groups and a fall in that ratio for the clerical support group; these changes may be due in part to changes in recruitment and resignation patterns for females;
  • for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, a small decline in staff numbers despite an increase in recruitment;
  • a fall in the number of people with disabilities; this seems to reflect voluntary redundancies for relatively older members of staff;
  • an increase in average incomes of people with parents from a non-English speaking background, as a ratio of average income for all staff; and
  • opportunities in keeping with demand for “English in the Workplace” courses for people from a non-English speaking background.

It is not possible to say, at this early stage, how much the EEO programme has contributed to these results. But the results are generally consistent in direction with the expected results of the EEO programme. That is encouraging.