Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2009 Introduction

This is the twenty-second Equity & Diversity Annual Report of the Reserve Bank of Australia, as required under Section 9 of the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987.

The RBA's policies and processes aim to embed equity and diversity principles in its work practices. To ensure that these practices remain appropriate, the RBA annually reviews its diversity profile, the take-up of its existing policies and programs, as well as any relevant external developments. This analysis, much of which is detailed in this Annual Report, helped determine new initiatives for the RBA's Diversity Plan. The Plan is updated every two to three years, with the Diversity Plan 2009–2011 introduced during this reporting period.

The new Plan identifies four priorities:

  • to gain an understanding of the issues related to work/life balance that are important to staff and use that information to contribute to equity and diversity policy deliberations;
  • to better understand the factors influencing the career experience of women;
  • to continue improving the accessibility of the Bank's computing systems and information and building facilities for staff and the community; and
  • to understand the needs of a maturing workforce, and use that information to assist in workforce planning and knowledge retention.

The layout of this Annual Report reflects these priorities, as well as the need to focus on the ‘designated groups’ defined in the Act – women, people with a disability, people of a non-English speaking background, and indigenous Australians.

Responsibility for Equity and Diversity

The Reserve Bank's Equity & Diversity Policy Committee is a consultative body which includes representatives of management, Human Resources, the Finance Sector Union and other staff. The Committee makes recommendations on equity and diversity matters to the Governor, and is responsible for monitoring the development and implementation of equity and diversity initiatives, policies and practices. The Committee reports annually on these matters to the Governor. During the reporting period, the Terms of Reference for the Committee (which are set out in the Appendix) were updated. The main change was to vary the membership in order to:

  • increase staff representation; and
  • better integrate the Committee with other diversity fora in the Bank.

Responsibilities extend beyond the Committee:

  • All staff are required to ensure that their actions in the workplace are consistent with the RBA's equity and diversity principles.
  • The Heads of each functional group are responsible for equity and diversity activities and performance within their areas.
  • Diversity Contact Managers are responsible for monitoring the implementation of diversity initiatives in their respective departments (which they report to the Committee) and act as an intermediary between the Committee and staff.
  • The Accessibility Consultative Group makes practical suggestions for improvements to the accessibility of computing systems and information and building facilities. Representatives are drawn from relevant departments (namely Systems & Technology, Information, Facilities Management and Human Resources) and interested staff.
  • Human Resources provides specialist services to assist in the development and implementation of the RBA's equity and diversity program.

Promoting Awareness

For equity and diversity principles to be considered part of normal work practices, staff must remain well informed about the RBA's diversity related policies and relevant legislation. There are a number of ways in which the RBA strives to achieve this, including:

  • ensuring that all staff and managers are appropriately trained about their equity and diversity responsibilities, via face-to-face and online programs;
  • conducting awareness sessions on diversity related issues and publishing topical articles in the monthly staff magazine, Currency;
  • making its equity and diversity related policies accessible on the Bank's intranet and communicating any policy changes via the staff newsletter, Staff Matters; and
  • making available on the intranet diversity related resources, such as the Bank's Diversity Plan, the Equity & Diversity Annual Report, information on assistive technology and a guide on disability awareness.

Data Collection

Equity and diversity information is sought from staff when they commence employment at the RBA. It is provided on a voluntary basis and includes information on disability, ethnic origin and capabilities in languages other than English. The RBA's equity and diversity statistics are based primarily on these data.

The RBA's Diversity Profile

At the end of June 2009, the RBA employed 989 staff, an increase of 6 per cent from a year ago and continuing the general upward trend in staff numbers evident over the past six years. Most diversity groups have maintained a fairly constant share of employment at the RBA over the past decade (Graph 1). The only exceptions to this have been staff with a non-English speaking background, whose representation has steadily increased, and staff with a disability, whose representation has fallen somewhat over the past few years.