Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2009 Diversity Initiatives and Profile

Work/Life Balance


The RBA aims to have work practices and policies that help staff achieve an appropriate work/life balance while meeting its operational needs. During the reporting period, the RBA undertook a review of its flexible work arrangements, which resulted in:

  • changes to parental leave, with eligible employees able to take up to two years parental leave (previously one year);
  • the introduction of a purchased leave scheme, enabling eligible employees to purchase up to four weeks additional leave in a calendar year;
  • more flexible arrangements for long service leave, including shortening the length of notice required to be able to take long service leave and reducing the minimum duration of leave that can be taken;
  • extending the maximum period of leave-without-pay staff can apply for from one year to two years and expanding the list of circumstances in which staff can engage in outside employment while on leave without pay; and
  • enabling staff to cash out a maximum of two weeks of accrued annual leave per year, where their annual leave balance exceeds six weeks.

The RBA continues to offer the services of the Employee Assistance Program to staff. In 2008/09 the Program was actively promoted through a presentation during Mental Health Week and in the new Diversity Plan. Staff can access information about the Program on the Bank's intranet.


During the reporting period, a total of 27 staff commenced parental leave, of which one-third were women. Over the past few years, a higher percentage of men have taken paid parental leave (Graph 2). Of the women completing parental leave in the year to June 2009, a slightly higher proportion returned to work full-time than has typically been the case (Graph 3). Nevertheless, the majority returned to work on a part-time basis.

Transitional arrangements for the newly introduced purchased leave scheme came into effect during 2009, with staff able to apply for purchased leave to be taken in the second half of the year. Eleven applications were received, of which the majority were from managers.

Personal leave for caring purposes was used by 45 per cent of staff in the year to June 2009, similar to the previous year. Fifty-five per cent of staff using carer's leave were men, in line with their overall representation at the RBA.

During 2008/09, 79 staff worked part-time, an increase of 16 per cent from the previous year. While this is the highest participation rate on record, it remains the case that the vast majority of part-time working arrangements involve women (Graph 4). The average age of staff working part time is 37 for both men and women.

The RBA continues to offer childcare places to staff at Billabond Children's Centre, for children aged five years and under. As at 30 June 2009, eleven children from eight RBA parents were using the Centre. During 2008/09, three children from two RBA parents used the Centre's Vacation Care Program.

The average number of staff attending the health and wellbeing lunch-time information sessions increased during the reporting period. On average, 33 participants attended each Head Office session compared with 20 in 2007/08. Nine of the 15 sessions were held at Head Office with the remainder held at the Bank's Business Resumption Site. Material from the sessions was distributed to all other RBA locations. The sessions covered a variety of topics including nutrition, exercise and mental health. In addition, 48 staff participated in a 13 week program aimed at improving their overall health.

The RBA supports staff being involved in philanthropic pursuits through its Volunteer Day Program. As part of the program, the RBA makes a financial donation equivalent to a days' pay (one day per employee per annum) for staff who take leave to participate in volunteer activities for designated charities. During 2008, 38 employees participated in the program with various organisations endorsed by the RBA's Benevolent Fund Committee.



Work over the past year has focused on better understanding the factors influencing the career experience of women. This analysis, reported below, was also used to help formulate initiatives for the latest Diversity Plan.


The representation of women employed at the RBA has remained stable over the past five years at 42 per cent (Graph 5), comparable to the Australia-wide female employment share of 45 per cent.

By occupation, the RBA continues to evolve from an organisation predominantly comprising clerical and administrative positions, to one of a predominantly professional nature. As a result, the majority of women at the Bank are now employed in professional/managerial roles rather than in clerical positions, which contrasts to the situation nearly a decade ago (Graph 6). Nevertheless, men continue to hold the majority of professional/managerial roles, accounting for two-thirds of such roles, while women continue to dominate clerical positions; these proportions have changed little over the past decade.

Men occupy the majority of managerial positions at the RBA, with women holding around one-quarter of these positions, a proportion largely stable over the past decade (Graph 7). The proportion of women holding a managerial position has nevertheless increased slightly, reflecting the more general shift towards professional occupations, although the percentage point increase has not been as large as that for men (Graph 8).

Graduates typically make up around one-third of the Bank's total recruits and are an important source of professional and managerial staff. Typically, female graduates comprise around one-third of the total intake, a proportion that has been relatively constant over the past two decades (Graph 9). For the 2010 intake, female representation was slightly above average, at 38 per cent.

Three-quarters of staff at the RBA have a post-secondary or tertiary educational qualification. There is no significant difference in the percentage of women holding Certificate/Diploma or Bachelor qualifications when compared to men (Graph 10). Where differences exist, they are that:

  • the HSC is the highest educational qualification for proportionately more women than men, reflecting the higher representation of women in clerical roles; and
  • proportionately more men than women hold a post-graduate qualification, although this gap has narrowed a little over the past five years (Graph 11).

The proportion of staff participating in RBA-sponsored training courses was similar for both females and males (Graph 12). The RBA continues to support programs that assist women to develop leadership skills and build support networks.

Promotions, transfers and rotations within the RBA, including to overseas and regional offices, are an important means of staff development. Staff are also provided with opportunities to act in higher positions and to undertake secondments to other institutions. In 2008/09, female staff accounted for half of all staff transfers and just under 40 per cent of all promotions (Graph 13).

There was a marked slowing in turnover during the year to June 2009 reflecting the more difficult economic conditions, with the number of exits falling by one-quarter. Over the past few years, male exit rates (or the proportion of exits that are male) have been higher than that for females, owing largely to an increase in exits for reasons other than resignation (typically retirement or contract expiry, see Graph 14). In contrast, resignation rates overall have been broadly similar between genders.

Pay distribution within the RBA continues to be monitored. Salary data suggest that there is no gender inequity in terms of remuneration outcomes.



The ageing of Australia's workforce is an important employment trend. Work over the past year has focused on understanding the implications for the Bank of changes in its age distribution and some of the workforce planning issues around retirement.


There have been important changes in the age profile of employees at the RBA. In particular, the number of women employees in their thirties has decreased markedly over the past decade, while for men there have been increases in all age groups, with the exception of those aged above 50 years (Graph 15).

This trend has resulted in a bimodal age distribution for females (Graph 16). This has not occurred for males, who have instead experienced an increase in numbers in the younger age groups (Graph 17).

In part, changes in the female age distribution reflect the restructuring of the RBA that occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This resulted in a disproportionately large share of young women exiting the Bank, due to the abolition of clerical roles typically held by this demographic. The reduction in clerical positions has had an ongoing effect to the extent that there has been a reduction in the number of women recruited who are in their thirties.

Another factor which could be contributing to this effect is the work/leisure (family) preferences of women in their thirties. Indeed, the distribution of the Australian female participation rate by age group tends to be bimodal and has been for an extended period (Graph 18).

Male staff, on average, are younger than female staff. Around half the men employed at the RBA are under the age of 35, compared to 44 per cent of women. In addition, there is a higher proportion of women approaching retirement age, with one-third of women currently aged 45 and above, compared to one-quarter of men.

Since 2000, the average tenure of employees at the RBA has shortened somewhat. Currently, 44 per cent of staff have spent less than five years at the RBA (Graph 19), compared with 35 per cent in 2000. Conversely, 20 per cent of staff have been employed by the RBA for more than 20 years, compared with 31 per cent in 2000. On average, staff spend about 10 years at the Bank.

Staff eligible for retirement (or over 54 years of age) accounted for 19 per cent of staff exits during 2008/09 (Graph 20). The majority of staff leaving the RBA, however, do so before the age of 35 (and account for half of total exits), although these exits represent only nine per cent of staff in these age groups.



A survey of staff with a disability was conducted by the RBA's occupational health nurse during the year. The bi-annual survey provides an avenue for feedback from staff with a disability to establish if there are any improvements that can be made to the working environment. Feedback provided in the survey was used in formulating the latest Diversity Plan.

The RBA offered staff a number of training sessions aimed at raising awareness on disability in the workplace. These included:

  • a half-day disability awareness workshop attended by the RBA's trainees;
  • a Deafness Awareness workshop conducted as part of the Diversity Plan's new lunch-time information sessions. Notes from the workshop, which was run by the Deaf Society of NSW, were made available to all staff on the Bank's intranet site; and
  • health and wellbeing lunch-time information sessions, which included topics on mental health and depression.

The RBA also promoted the government initiative, JobAccess, to raise awareness of workplace assessments for assistive technology and the possibility of funding for staff with a disability.

The primary forum through which accessibility issues are raised and addressed is the Accessibility Consultative Group. Two important changes were made to the Group over the past year. First, the Chairperson of the Group was invited to become a member of the Equity and Diversity Policy Committee to better integrate the work of the two bodies. Second, to increase the visibility of the Group and to allow for greater staff participation, the minutes of the Group's meetings are now available to all staff on the intranet. During 2008/09, the bulk of the Group's work centred on computing-related accessibility, such as the development of user guides for the assistive-technology software, and assessing the implications of new international guidelines on web-content accessibility for the RBA.

Each year the RBA designates a position on its Traineeship Program for a person with a disability. In 2009, mentoring and support for these trainees was introduced which includes meetings with managers and Human Resources on a regular basis, assessing specific equipment needs, and providing regular training assistance.


The proportion of staff with a disability was 4¼ per cent in the year to June 2009, a decrease of around two percentage points over the past three years (Graph 21). This decline largely reflects exits from the RBA: staff with a disability represented 11 per cent of all staff exits in this reporting period, higher than their overall share of employment. In part, the exit rate was boosted by a pick-up in retirements amongst such staff over the past three years, and reflects the fact that the age profile of employees with a disability is somewhat older than for the RBA overall, with a median age of 43 years at June 2009, compared with the overall median of 36 years.

There may also be some under-reporting of people with a disability. This could reflect an unwillingness to declare a disability and lags in capturing people with newly acquired disabilities.

Indigenous Australians


Each year the RBA designates a position on its Traineeship Program for an indigenous Australian. In 2009, a recruitment, mentoring and development pilot program was introduced. The program included sourcing suitable candidates, providing ongoing support for both the trainee and their managers, and running a cultural awareness session for staff.

To raise staff awareness of cultural issues, two Aboriginal Cultural Awareness workshops were held during the year, with over 50 staff attending. The RBA's indigenous artwork was displayed in the Museum of Australian Currency Notes to celebrate NAIDOC week.


Indigenous Australians continue to account for a very small proportion of staff, at ¾ of a per cent (Graph 22). This is lower than the representation in the Australian community and the broader Australian workforce. It is, however, comparable to the proportion of indigenous Australians working in occupations similar to those employed at the RBA.

Race Ethnicity


During the reporting period, the RBA reviewed its recruitment policies and removed the requirement of Australian Citizenship for permanent employment. This provides the RBA with greater flexibility in engaging employees from overseas and enables highly skilled staff without citizenship to remain at the Bank.

The RBA continued to offer English language skills training for staff from a non-English speaking background. A cultural awareness workshop was also conducted for staff operating in the Asia-Pacific region.


The proportion of RBA employees who identified themselves as having being born overseas from a non-English speaking background has steadily increased over the past decade and is currently 23 per cent (Graph 23). The representation of these staff at the RBA is significantly higher than their representation in the Australian community and is also higher than that of the Australian workforce. The largest group of employees from a non-English speaking background were born in the Philippines, followed by India and China.

Staff born overseas from a non-English speaking background represented 22 per cent of all staff exits in this reporting period, similar to their share of employment. The exit rate for these staff was nine per cent, the same as for the RBA as a whole.