Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2010 Diversity Initiatives and Profile

Work/Life Balance


The Reserve Bank 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 Reserve Bank developed a policy on flexible work requests for staff to coincide with the implementation of the Federal Government's National Employment Standards under the Fair Work Act 2009. The Bank also changed its arrangements for personal leave for caring purposes following the introduction of the Federal Government's National Employment Standards. The calendar-year cap on the amount of personal leave that can be taken for caring purposes has now been removed.

The Reserve Bank continued to offer the services of the Employee Assistance Program to staff. In 2009/10, staff were given online access to the program, which provides confidential access to counselling and resource materials.


To help monitor the work/life balance interests of staff, the Reserve Bank looks at a number of different indicators, including:

  • access to part-time work;
  • parental leave usage;
  • the use of carers' leave; and
  • the take-up of the Bank's purchased leave scheme.

During 2009/10, eight per cent of staff worked part-time, the highest participation rate on record, continuing the upward trend seen over the last five years. Some things to note about part-time staff include:

  • the majority of staff working part-time do so for at least six days a fortnight (Graph 2);
  • while the vast majority of part-time working arrangements involve women, the share of men working part-time is increasing (Graph 3);
  • staff working part-time are, on average, older than full-time staff and have generally worked at the Bank for longer (Table 1); and
  • the age profile of staff working part-time, nevertheless, differs between men and women (Graph 4). Almost half of men working part-time are aged at least 50 years, compared to only nine per cent of female staff working part-time. The majority of female staff working part-time are aged in their late thirties and forties.
Table 1: Staff Age and Tenure
Years, as at 30 June 2010
Part-time staff Full-time staff
Median age 42 35
Median tenure 12 6

During the reporting period, a total of 35 staff commenced parental leave. There have been interesting changes in the use of parental leave provisions over recent years, including:

  • men are now the predominant users of parental leave (Graph 5);
  • men are now tending to take longer periods of parental leave (Graph 6), with over half taking more than two weeks leave. This contrasts to the situation a decade ago when almost all men took less than two weeks (men are entitled to up to two years parental leave, two weeks of which is paid);
  • women typically take a longer break from work than men, with two-thirds of women returning from parental leave after around 12 months (women are entitled to up to two years parental leave, 13 weeks of which is paid); and
  • women returning from parental leave typically do so on a part-time basis (Graph 7). Of the women completing parental leave in the year to 30 June 2010, a higher proportion returned to work part-time than has typically been the case, and there were no staff resignations.

The Reserve Bank continues to offer childcare places to staff at Billabond Children's Centre for children aged five years and under. As at 30 June 2010, nine children from six employees were using the Centre. During 2009/10, three children from three employees used the Centre's Vacation Care Program.

Leave for caring purposes was used by 47 per cent of staff in the year to June 2010, similar to the previous year. Women used carers' leave more than men, accounting for 47 per cent of staff using such provisions, slightly higher than their overall representation at the Bank.

The Reserve Bank has a purchased leave scheme which came into effect during the second half of 2009. To date, women have been the predominant users of the scheme, with women accounting for 60 per cent of purchased leave applications in 2010 (Graph 8). Over half the staff that applied for purchased leave requested the maximum of four weeks additional leave (Graph 9). The majority of applications were from professional and managerial staff. Around one third of applicants used the scheme in both 2009 and 2010.

The Reserve Bank has a number of initiatives in place to support the health and wellbeing of staff. These include the provision of gym facilities and fitness classes. Fitness class attendance has remained similar to the previous reporting period with an average of 10 per cent of staff participating in the pilates and yoga classes. The Bank also introduced cardio boxing classes during 2009/10 following staff feedback on its fitness programs.

The Reserve Bank also facilitates lunchtime information sessions on a variety of health and wellbeing topics, such as mental and physical health. The average number of staff attending these sessions increased during the reporting period, with an average of 45 participants attending each Head Office session compared with 33 in 2008/09. Ten 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 Bank locations. In addition, 48 employees participated in an eight-week program aimed at improving their overall health.

The Reserve Bank supports staff participation in philanthropic pursuits in a number of ways. In particular, it matches all donations made by staff through the Bank's Benevolent Fund on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The Benevolent Fund also sponsors fund-raising activities with the Bank dollar-matching funds raised by staff. This year, around 20 per cent of staff participated in a fund-raising trivia night. In addition, the Bank dollar-matched the donations raised by staff participating in the ‘Sydney to the Gong MS Bike Ride’. The Bank also has a Volunteer Day Program, whereby staff spend a day of leave helping at an eligible charity with the Bank donating to that charity the equivalent of one day's pay. During 2009/10, 14 employees participated in the Volunteer Day Program.



Work over the past year has continued to focus on gaining a better understanding of the factors influencing the career experience of women at the Reserve Bank. Analysis was conducted on gender-based employment trends at the Bank, which concluded that there is little evidence of gender bias, with most of the apparent discrepancies explained by the occupational mix of the Bank's workforce. Some of the key findings of that analysis are reported below and in the age section of this report.

During the year, senior women from around the Reserve Bank were invited to attend various external luncheons and information seminars. A new course covering career management was piloted, with women returning from parental leave one of the main target groups.


Women accounted for around 43 per cent of the Reserve Bank's staff at the end of June 2010, slightly lower than it was a decade ago but comparable to the Australia-wide share (Graph 10).

By occupation, the Reserve Bank continues to evolve from an organisation predominantly comprising clerical and administrative positions, to one predominantly professional in nature – a trend apparent in the financial sector more broadly. As a result, the majority of women at the Bank are now employed in professional rather than in clerical roles, which contrasts to the situation a decade ago (Graph 11). Men continue to hold the majority of professional positions, with women accounting for one-third of such roles; women continue to dominate clerical positions, holding around two-thirds of such positions (Graph 12). These proportions have changed little over the past decade.

Reflecting the shift towards professional occupations, a slightly higher proportion of females are now managers than was the case a decade ago; the same trend is apparent for males (Graph 13). The share of women in managerial positions has fluctuated around one-quarter over the past decade (Graph 14).

The Reserve Bank's single largest recruitment exercise each year is the Graduate Development Program. University graduates account for about one-third of new recruits to the Bank each year and are an important source of professional (and therefore 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 15). For the 2010 intake, female representation was slightly above average, at 38 per cent.

Female staff accounted for 52 per cent of staff exits in the year to 30 June 2010, higher than their share of employment and in contrast to the previous six years where the reverse was true (Graph 16). The majority of exits were of professional staff.

Forty-four per cent of promotions over the year to June 2010 were for female staff, similar to their employment share and higher than the ten year average of 38 per cent (Graph 17).

Three-quarters of staff at the Reserve Bank have a post-secondary or tertiary educational qualification. There is no significant difference between women and men in the percentage holding Certificate/Diploma or Bachelor qualifications (Graph 18). 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.

During the reporting period the Reserve Bank's study assistance committee awarded six Post-Graduate Study Awards with an equal number of men and women accepting the offer.

There does not appear to be any gender differences in access to Bank-sponsored training, with the proportion of staff participating in such courses similar for both females and males (Graph 19).



During the year a new course covering career management was piloted, with staff approaching retirement one of the target groups for the course. The initiatives relating to age from the Reserve Bank's Diversity Plan 2009–2011 will be a point of focus during the next reporting period.


The female age distribution has changed markedly over the past decade. In 2000, women in their thirties were in the majority, while women aged above 50 were in the minority (Graph 20). Now, however, the bulk of women are either less than 30 or in their forties, and the number of women in their thirties has declined to such an extent that they are now in similar numbers to women aged 50 and over. In contrast, the male distribution has seen a shift towards younger staff over the past decade, with representation of male staff aged above 50 years falling.

These trends in the female workforce have given rise to a bimodal age distribution at the Reserve Bank (Graph 21). This has not occurred in the male workforce which has instead experienced an increase in younger age groups (Graph 22). As a result, a higher proportion of women are approaching retirement age, with one-third of women currently aged 45 and above, compared to around one-quarter of men.

Since 2000, the average tenure of employees at the Reserve Bank has shortened somewhat. Currently 43 per cent of staff have spent less than five years at the Bank (Graph 23), compared with 35 per cent in 2000. Conversely, 22 per cent of staff have been employed by the Bank for 20 years or more, compared with 31 per cent in 2000. The median tenure of staff is 6 years.

Staff eligible for retirement (or over 54 years of age) accounted for 24 per cent of staff exits during 2009/10 (Graph 24). The majority of staff leaving the Reserve Bank, however, do so before the age of 35 (and account for over half of total exits), although these exits represent only 11 per cent of staff in these age groups.



The Reserve Bank employed one person with a disability under the Federal Government's traineeship scheme, which assists those without post-secondary qualifications to enter the workforce and gain certification. An important aspect of the program is ensuring that the applicant pool includes individuals with disabilities; the vacancy for a person with a disability was advertised separately this year.

The Reserve Bank continued to offer staff training sessions aimed at raising awareness on disability in the workplace. These included a half-day disability awareness workshop attended by the Bank's trainees as well as various lunchtime information sessions on topics such as mental and physical health.

Opportunities to seek external assistance for staff with a disability were promoted within the Reserve Bank. The main vehicle promoted was JobAccess, which is a government initiative designed to provide workplace assessments for assistive technology and, where appropriate, funding for staff with a disability.

A number of new accessibility related initiatives were pursued during 2009/10. These included:

  • the development of an online accessibility training module which was an initiative of the Accessibility Consultative Group, the primary forum through which accessibility issues are raised and addressed;
  • considering accessibility in the redesign of the Bank's online learning modules and the implementation of the employee self service system;
  • incorporating an accessibility awareness topic in the Bank's software upgrade training;
  • introducing new assistive technology in the Systems Accessibility Test lab, a facility used within the Bank to test the compatibility of newly acquired or modified software with assistive technology; and
  • ensuring that the redesign of the Bank's external website was consistent with international accessibility guidelines.


The proportion of staff with a disability was four per cent as at June 2010, a decrease of around two percentage points over the last four years (Graph 25). This decline largely reflects exits from the Reserve Bank: staff with a disability represented 8 per cent of all exits in this reporting period, higher than their overall share of employment. The exit rate was boosted by a pick-up in retirements amongst such staff, and reflects the fact that the age profile of employees with a disability is somewhat older than for the Bank overall, with a median age of 42 years at June 2010, compared with the overall median of 36 years.

There may be some under-reporting of people with a disability, to the extent that some staff are unwilling to declare a disability or because of lags in capturing people with newly acquired disabilities. To improve the quality of these data, staff will be asked to review and update their diversity details during the next reporting period.

Indigenous Australians


There are a number of ways in which the Reserve Bank has sought to increase the representation of people from an indigenous Australian background. These include:

  • advertising all external job vacancies on an indigenous Australian job board;
  • removing the HSC as a minimum requirement for the traineeship scheme, in part because this was viewed to be a possible impediment to applications from indigenous Australians;
  • providing the indigenous Australian trainee recruited in 2009 with access to an external mentor; and
  • recruiting an additional indigenous Australian trainee in 2010 such that two were employed. Since the commencement of the Reserve Bank's participation in the traineeships scheme in 1991, 28 indigenous Australian recruits have participated in this training.

To raise staff awareness on Aboriginal culture, an information session was held during the year. In addition, a selection of the Reserve Bank's indigenous artwork was displayed in the Museum of Australian Currency Notes to celebrate NAIDOC week.


Indigenous Australians continue to account for a small proportion of staff, at ¾ of one per cent (Graph 26). 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 occupational groups similar to those at the Reserve Bank.



The Reserve Bank continued to offer English language and writing skills training for staff from a non-English speaking background. A series of cultural awareness workshops were conducted for staff operating in the Asia region. The Bank also piloted an online tool where staff can view detailed cultural, business, travel and other information for around 60 countries.


The proportion of Reserve Bank employees who identified themselves as having been born overseas from a non-English speaking background has steadily increased over the past decade, levelling off over the more recent years at around 22 per cent (Graph 27). The representation of these staff at the Bank 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 born overseas from a non-English speaking background were from the Philippines, followed by China, India and Vietnam. Staff born overseas from a non-English speaking background represented 29 per cent of all staff exits in this reporting period, higher than their share of employment.