Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2004 Section 2: Human Resource Policies and Practices

This section reports on human resource policies and practices in relation to recruitment and selection, training and development, and employment policies from a diversity perspective.

2.1 Recruitment & Selection

General Recruitment

The RBA continues to be regarded as an attractive place of employment for high calibre staff, most of whom join through the annual graduate, cadetship and traineeship recruitment drives. Several initiatives have helped to introduce the RBA's employment opportunities to high school and university students. There has been a continuing emphasis on attracting more female candidates. On-line recruitment remains the preferred method for applicants to receive information and to apply for positions.

Graduates and Cadets

Both the graduate and cadetship recruitment campaigns provided high quality applicants to departments. The RBA advertised in the national press, graduate publications and a larger number of web-based job boards and graduate career information sites, including those provided by university careers services. Recruitment packs were also circulated to honours students at universities Australia-wide.

The RBA continues to participate in The Australasian Graduate Recruitment Benchmarking Study. This provides information on graduate recruitment practices in over 100 organisations in Australia and New Zealand. The information provided in the study assists in maintaining a best practice approach to graduate recruitment.

Graduate Development Program

Graduates who join the RBA's two year Graduate Development Program (GDP) have honours level degrees in Economics, Finance or closely related studies. Graduates are recruited through the annual graduate recruitment program commencing in March, and from graduates completing the RBA Cadetship Award. The RBA also recruits Information Technology and Accounting graduates under separate recruitment programs from time to time.

Twenty-nine graduates, including eight women, began the Graduate Development Program in 2004. This represented 25% of all new employees in 2003/04. The intake included 16 graduates from the 2002/03 cadetship program, confirming the primary role played by this program in attracting high calibre graduates to the RBA. Three of the graduates recruited to the 2004 program received the 2003 Honours Economics State Award. This award is given to six outstanding honours students each year by the Economic Society of Australia.

Photograph of participants at the 2004 Graduate Development Program
2004 Graduate Development Program

At the end of 2003, each of the 28 graduates completing the 2002 Graduate Development Program was offered ongoing employment at RBA.

Cadetship Award

Recruitment efforts at the graduate level are supported by the Cadetship Award. The cadetship provides two-months of work experience before the university honours year begins for students who have completed, to a high standard, three undergraduate years of study. Financial support is provided during the honours year for cadets who are offered and accept a place on the next Graduate Development Program.

The 2003/04 cadetship had 18 participants, 50% of whom were women. This compares with 41% in 2002/03 and 15% in 2001/02. Nine of the 16 cadets who accepted offers to join the 2005 Graduate Development Program are women.

Photograph of 2003/04 Cadets
2003/04 Cadets

AXISS Scholarship Program

Participation in the AXISS Scholarship Program continued in 2003/04. The program provides an opportunity for talented finance or commerce students to undertake twelve weeks' paid work experience. The scholarship is another effective way of sourcing high calibre graduates and cadets for the Financial Markets Group. In 2003 the RBA employed two former AXISS scholars.

Information Technology Graduates

During the year, Systems and Technology Department continued to be involved in placing students undertaking IT studies through an Industrial Training Program. This program requires students to complete a twelve month paid work placement as part of their degree. The RBA has successfully placed a number of students from this program into cadet and graduate positions. Five of the 29 graduates recruited to the 2004 Graduate Development Program were for the Systems & Technology Department. Of the five graduates, two are female.


For the past 18 years, the RBA has supported the Australian Government's New Apprenticeship and Traineeship System. Twelve-month traineeships are offered in Business Administration, Print Design, and Information Technology.

Photograph of 2004 Trainees
2004 Trainees

Business Administration Traineeship

Business Administration trainees undertake off-the-job training one day per week towards a Certificate III in Business Administration. The training is conducted on the RBA's premises. Trainees rotate through three departments, spending approximately four months in each department. Each year, one Business Administration traineeship is targeted for people with a disability and one for Indigenous Australians.

In March 2004, each of the six 2003 Business Administration trainees successfully completed their traineeship. The group was evenly split between males and females. Five of the trainees gained full-time permanent employment with the RBA. A further seven Business Administration trainees were recruited in March for the 2004 program. The group consists of four males and three females and includes two people with a disability and one Indigenous Australian.

Print Design Traineeship

Each year the RBA offers one Print Design traineeship. The trainee undertakes training one day per week towards a Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts (Print Design). The training is undertaken off-the-job at Ultimo TAFE. In December 2003, the Print Design traineeship was successfully completed by a female. The traineeship was again offered in January 2004 and a male is currently undertaking the program.

Information Technology Traineeship

Information Technology (IT) trainees undertake training off-the-job one day per week. Trainees study towards either a Certificate III or Certificate IV qualification, depending on their prior knowledge and skills. In March 2004, one male trainee was offered full-time permanent employment after successfully completing his Certificate IV in Information Technology (Programming). Since the commencement of the IT Traineeship in 1999, 50% of candidates have been offered full-time employment. In March 2004, three male candidates were offered IT traineeships at the RBA.

Recruitment Initiatives

The RBA continues to explore additional avenues of providing information about graduate and cadetship opportunities to both high school and university students, particularly females. These include participation in a Careers Expo in 2004 and other work experience programs for high school students, associated with the AXISS Scholarship. Programs provided by government agencies and universities, including Co-operative Programs are also regularly reviewed.

2.2 Staff Training & Development

Staff Appraisal

The RBA's performance management program was revised with new arrangements introduced for the 2003/04 appraisal year. This includes a new appraisal form that features a development plan to encourage greater focus on training and development. The plan records training goals, steps required for achievement, target dates and supervisor's comments upon completion. As before, there are mid and end term performance feedback discussions with staff. However, a more focussed skills framework has been introduced with fewer skills to be assessed and provision for comments on each skill. Position descriptions have been revamped to reflect this skills framework and training programs are offered to address the required skills.

General Training

In–house training courses are facilitated by either RBA staff or external providers. Courses are held in the Head Office training rooms or at the RBA's residential training college, HC Coombs Centre for Financial Studies, Kirribilli.

Training and development programs were updated during 2003/04. The in-house training curriculum was realigned with the new skills framework. A number of new programs were added including; Managing Time and Projects, Business Writing – The Basics, Managing Cultural Diversity, OHS Essentials for Managers and Supervisors, Accessibility Awareness, People Management – A Legal Perspective, Managing Meetings, and Influencing Skills. A number of other programs are under development. These include a mentoring program for female staff and a program to improve understanding of the RBA's Code of Conduct. These programs are likely to be introduced in the next reporting period.

Photograph of attendees at the People Management – A Legal Perspective training program
Training: People Management, A Legal Perspective training program

Externally, Springboard continues to be offered and XPlore has been added to the curriculum. Both of these courses are women's career management programs and are aimed at different career levels.

During 2003/04, 86% of staff attended some formal in-house training (85% of women, 87% of men). These figures exclude e-learning which is available to all staff throughout the year. In addition, 32% of staff attended external training and 10% attended overseas courses and conferences. Twenty-nine presentations were made by staff on behalf of the RBA at conferences; seven of these were presented by women.

Graduate Development Program

The Graduate Development Program provides extensive training and development opportunities as well as a strong foundation for longer-term professional development. The two-year formal training schedule aims to develop graduates' skills in the areas of computer applications, business writing, interpersonal skills, professional presentations, leadership and career management.

Photograph of participants at the 2003 Graduate Development Program: Managing Workplace Strategies
2003 Graduate Development Program: Managing Workplace Strategies

In 2004, the program was reviewed and modified to include new sessions on econometrics, influencing skills, business writing coaching, and time management. Management/supervisory training was also streamlined and rescheduled to take place towards the end of the program to ensure graduates are well equipped to move forward into future management roles. This year a stronger emphasis has been placed on building a social support network between graduates. Coaching skills training will be introduced to second year graduates to provide them with skills to assist and support first year graduates.

Photograph of Graduate supervisors and staff from the 2002 GDP at the 2004 GDP orientation week BBQ
Graduate supervisors and staff from the 2002 GDP at the 2004 GDP orientation week BBQ

Management Programs

A further 64 staff attended the New Managers Program, including 28 graduates of the 2002 Graduate Development Program. In total, 117 staff have completed this course since it was introduced in 2001.

Ninety-six managers have attended the Central Banking Management Program (CBMP) since it was first introduced in 1996, including 13 in 2004. Four of this year's participants were women. The program, which is now run every two years, provides eight days of intensive training and project management over a two month period.

Photograph of participants at the 2004 Central Banking Management Program
2004 Central Banking Management Program

The 2004 program incorporated leadership and management styles, managing cultural diversity, 360 feedback and 1:1 coaching, feedback and coaching skills, project management, presentation skills and understanding legal responsibilities associated with managing staff. Senior managers provided participants with information on current RBA issues for project work. Guest speakers addressed two issues: ethics in the workplace and operational risk management.


In 2003 the RBA upgraded its e-learning program to an internet-based platform, to allow greater flexibility and improved access for staff. Staff have access to over 180 course titles relating to computer applications, IT technical software & hardware, and various business skills. Staff can access courses from their desktop, in the Self Paced Learning Centre or from their home computer. Specialist finance related programs are currently being trialled for staff in policy and markets roles.

Also in 2003, customised e-learning modules were introduced as part of the new Online Orientation Program. There are currently three modules: Orientation; Getting a Grasp on Equity and Diversity and Workplace Behaviour; and Getting a Grasp on OHS. All new starters are required to complete the interactive modules within two weeks of commencement. A further two modules, Privacy, and Code of Conduct, will be introduced in the next reporting period.

Educational Qualifications

Graph: Highest Qualification

As part of an annual review, the recorded qualifications of staff were updated; 69% of staff are recorded as having a post-secondary or tertiary qualification, compared to 67% in 2003. Of the 69% of staff who have a post-secondary or tertiary qualification, 26% hold a post graduate qualification; the same as in 2003. Overall, 53% of staff now hold a Bachelor Degree or higher (51% in 2003).

There remains a substantial gender gap with 59% of women holding a post-secondary qualification compared to 76% of men. 43% of women now hold a Bachelor Degree or higher (up from 40% in 2003) compared to 61% of men (up from 58% in 2003). The percentage of staff with post-secondary and post-graduate qualifications has risen in previous years as a result of the declining number of clerical relative to professional positions.

Study Assistance

Employees are encouraged to obtain qualifications of value to the RBA and relevant to their career. To assist staff in obtaining these qualifications, the RBA has a study assistance scheme where tuition fees are met by the RBA on successful completion of course subjects.

Graph: Study Assistance

In 2003/04, 70 staff received study assistance (8% of staff). Of those 70 staff, 30% were female (up from 27% in 2003). The percentage of women receiving assistance was 6%, up 1% from 2003. The figures for men remained the same with 10% receiving assistance in 2003/04. The majority of staff receiving study assistance are studying at a post-graduate level (80%). Where the cost of a course exceeds a certain level, or for staff wishing to study full-time, staff must apply to the Bank Study Assistance Committee. In 2003 the Committee approved five part-time study assistance applications.

2003 Bank Study Assistance Committee

Photograph of 2003 Bank Study Assistance Committee Member Ric Battellino
Ric Battellino
Photograph of 2003 Bank Study Assistance Committee Member Malcolm Edey
Malcolm Edey
Photograph of 2003 Bank Study Assistance Committee Member John Veale
John Veale
Photograph of 2003 Bank Study Assistance Committee Member Graham Rawstron
Graham Rawstron

2003 Part-Time Study Award Recipients

Photograph of 2003 Part-Time Study Award Recipient Colin Armstrong
Photograph of 2003 Part-Time Study Award Recipient
Photograph of 2003 Part-Time Study Award Recipient Glen McLane
Photograph of 2003 Part-Time Study Award Recipient Terence Ho
Photograph of 2003 Part-Time Study Award Recipient David Kowald

Post-Graduate Study Award

An important element of the RBA Study Assistance Scheme is the Post-Graduate Study Award (PGSA). This is offered each year to assist high calibre staff undertake full-time post-graduate study in relevant disciplines at universities in Australia or overseas. The PGSA represents a substantial investment by the RBA in upgrading the knowledge and skills of staff. Since 1981, when the PGSA was formally introduced, 73 staff have participated in the program. During the year eight staff (two female, six male) were studying via the PGSA program; six of these were studying overseas.

In 2003, the Bank Study Assistance Committee approved four PGSA applications (one female, three male). Two of the award recipients (including one female) nominated overseas institutions and will commence their studies in 2004/05.

2003 PGSA Recipients

Photograph of 2003 Post-Graduate Study Award Recipient Ellis Connolly
Photograph of 2003 Post-Graduate Study Award Recipient Laura Berger-Thomson
Photograph of 2003 Post-Graduate Study Award Recipient Chris Stewart
Photograph of 2003 Post-Graduate Study Award Recipient Anton Voss

Certificate IV in Business Administration

The RBA continued to assist clerical staff in obtaining Certificate IV in Business Administration qualifications. For Head Office staff, the training is conducted one-day per month over a period of 12 months, on the RBA's premises. Six staff (three female, three male) successfully completed the qualification in March 2004. A further six staff (three female, three male) commenced the study program in 2004.

2.3 Employment Policies

A primary aim of the Diversity Plan is to ensure that personnel practices and policies are fair and equitable and assist in the retention of valued staff. To this end a number of policies were reviewed during the year. There was also progress in implementing changes to other personnel policies, notably personal leave designed to improve flexibility for staff caring for family members. These changes were incorporated in the 2003–2004 Enterprise Bargaining Agreement between the RBA and the main workplace union, the Finance Sector Union (FSU).

Working from Home

A trial of working from home arrangements commenced in September 2003 under agreed guidelines flowing from enterprise bargaining. During the trial and subject to management approval, an employee may work from home on an occasional and temporary short-term basis. Circumstances may include, for example, emergency care of a dependant, temporary transport difficulty, and minor ailment of the employee. Feedback to date has been positive with a number of staff in various departments taking up this arrangement. Further analysis will be conducted in the next reporting period.

Salary Flexibility

Under enterprise bargaining arrangements, the RBA has agreed to extend tax effective salary options for staff to include donations to charities under the Workplace Giving Program, and purchase of laptop/notebook computers. Preparatory work was undertaken during the year and the new options will be available to staff early in 2004/05. Salary sacrifice for superannuation has been available to staff since 2001. As at 30 June 2004, 339 staff were salary sacrificing for superannuation. In certain circumstances, staff at management levels may also sacrifice salary for a motor vehicle via a novated leasing scheme.

Lunch Break

The standard unpaid lunch break is of one hour's duration. During the year the option for employees to take a shorter lunch break of 30-minutes, previously available only to staff with parenting responsibilities, was extended to all staff. The arrangement, which enables a correspondingly later start or earlier finish to the working day, is subject to management approval in order to ensure maintenance of adequate staffing levels during business hours.

Taking of Annual Leave

Previously, new recruits were required to complete six months' service with the RBA before being permitted to access annual leave. This provision was removed early in 2004. Subject to office convenience new recruits may now take annual leave as it accrues.

Performance Pay: EBA covered staff

Average performance pay outcomes for staff covered by enterprise bargaining arrangements in 2003/04 were very similar for males, females, people from a non-English speaking backgrounds, and people with disabilities. The table opposite shows a gender comparison.

From the 2004/05 appraisal year there are changed performance appraisal and performance pay arrangements for EBA-covered staff. A new ranking scale will apply from this year. Pay units will be replaced by a percentage increase paid on actual salaries providing scope for more flexible rewards within the same budget constraints than in the past.

Graph: 2003 Performance Pay Distribution of Ratings

Former rules that involved delayed salary increases and/or reduced lump sum performance payments where employees were absent for varying periods of the appraisal year no longer apply. Apart from streamlining administration of performance pay, the removal of these rules will ensure that staff on extended parental leave for part of an appraisal year are not disadvantaged.

Study Assistance

During the year the RBA's study assistance arrangements were revised to provide for payment of fees funded under the Postgraduate Education Loans Scheme (PELS). The assistance is paid directly against the staff member's debt with the Australian Tax Office.

Consultation with Employees

The principal means for providing information to staff relating to equity and diversity over the year were through Staff Matters, the staff newsletter; Currency, the monthly staff magazine; and Personnel Department's intranet site. A copy of the Equity & Diversity Annual Report 2003 was sent to staff via email and hard copies were also made available.

A review of the Grievance Authority conducted in 2004 resulted in continuation of the existing long-standing arrangements including retention of an independent chairperson. One grievance was lodged with the Authority during the year, the first for five years.

Consultation with Workplace Unions

The RBA consulted with the FSU during the year on a range of employment issues, including matters relating to the implementation of items in the Enterprise Agreement for 2003 and 2004 and the establishment and staffing of an IT recovery site at West Pennant Hills. Consultation also took place between the RBA and workplace unions on the development of a new Occupational Health and Safety Agreement; this was implemented in May 2004.