Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2011 Diversity Initiatives and Profile

Work/Life Balance


During 2010/11, the Bank pursued initiatives relating to work/life balance, including the provision of training, access to flexible work arrangements and support facilities.

The Bank undertook a survey on workplace flexibility, in order to better understand the extent to which the existing flexible work arrangements were meeting the needs of its staff. In addition, training was provided to managers on how to approach flexible work requests, in line with the Federal Government's National Employment Standards under the Fair Work Act 2009, which give parents with children under school age and parents with children with a disability under the age of 18, the right to request flexible work arrangements.

The Bank continued to offer support to staff and their families through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This service provides confidential counselling and support via an online portal, phone and face-to-face meetings; it is promoted through the Bank's Health and Well Being Program. Staff continue to utilise this confidential facility, which is available for both work- and non-work related matters, such as the recent fire and flood disasters.

The Bank also offers primary health care through the Bank's Occupational Health Centre, which provides advice to staff on work-related matters, including ergonomic assessments and rehabilitation case management. The Bank is an accredited breastfeeding friendly workplace and provides a Parent Room for women returning to work from parental leave.


To help monitor the work/life balance interests of staff, the 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 2010/11, 8 per cent of staff worked part-time. 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). The share of women working part-time has decreased somewhat over the past two years;
  • staff working part-time are, on average, older than full-time staff and have generally worked at the Bank for longer (Table 1); and
Table 1: Staff Age and Tenure
Years, as at 30 June 2011
Part-time staff Full-time staff
Median age 43 36
Median tenure 12 6

Source: RBA

  • the age profile of staff working part-time differs between men and women, with the majority of female staff working part-time aged in their late thirties and forties (Graph 4). Around 40 per cent of men working part-time are aged 50 years and above, compared to about 8 per cent of women (aged 50 and above) working part-time.

During the reporting period, a total of 45 staff commenced parental leave, which represents an increase of around one-third over the prior period. There have been some changes in the use of parental leave provisions over recent years, including:

  • men have been the predominant users of parental leave over the past four years, in contrast to the situation a decade ago (Graph 5);
  • women typically take a longer break from work than men, with 70 per cent of women returning from parental leave within 6 to 12 months (Graph 6). Fifteen percent of women took two years of parental leave, of which 14 weeks 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 June 2011, a higher proportion returned to work full-time than has typically been the case.

To help support staff with children, the Bank continues to offer childcare places at Billabond Children's Centre.

Leave for caring purposes was used by 42 per cent of staff in the year to June 2011. 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 Bank has a purchased leave scheme which came into effect during the second half of 2009. To date, the scheme has been predominantly used by women, who accounted for 60 percent of applications in 2011 (Graph 8). The majority of staff who applied for purchased leave requested two or four weeks additional leave (Graph 9). The majority of applications were from professional and managerial staff. Around one-third of applicants accessed the scheme in both 2010 and 2011.

The Bank has a number of initiatives in place to support the health and well being 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, cardio boxing and yoga classes.

The Bank also provides lunchtime health and well being seminars facilitated by relevant experts on a variety of health topics. On average, 33 participants attended each Head Office health and well being seminar, compared to 45 in 2009/10. During the reporting period, the Bank introduced seminar audio recording, enabling access to seminar podcasts to all staff via the intranet. The Bank also provided flu vaccinations to approximately 30 per cent of staff.

The Bank supports 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 fundraising activities with the Bank dollar-matching funds raised by staff. This year, around 20 per cent of staff participated in a fundraising trivia night. In addition, the Bank dollar-matched the donations raised by staff through the ‘Sydney to the Gong MS Bike Ride’. This year the Bank supported the Dress for Success Drive, through donations of clothing by staff, to assist disadvantaged women to dress for the workforce. The Bank also has a Volunteer Day Program, whereby staff spend a day of leave helping at an eligible charity and the Bank donates to that charity the equivalent of one day's pay. During 2010/11, 10 employees were involved in the Volunteer Day Program.



During 2010/11, the Bank's main gender focus was on reviewing ‘employer of choice’ guidelines and the graduate recruitment process, promoting careers available with the Bank and providing development opportunities.

The Bank's Equity & Diversity Program was reviewed against the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency's employment-related guidelines. This review suggested that the Bank is meeting most of the employment matter guidelines. The review has prompted the Bank to focus on the recruitment process for graduates, mentoring programs and the decision-making criteria for the assessment of flexible work requests.

The graduate selection process was reviewed and a more streamlined interview process was introduced. The review aimed to increase the involvement of senior management in the selection process and enhance the recruitment experience for all applicants. The Bank actively promoted graduate opportunities through university networks and student societies, including the value of Honours studies in Economics and Finance.

Seven female managers volunteered to participate in the 2011 Lucy Mentoring Program through the University of New South Wales. The program aims to provide female university students with an insight into professional careers and to create work-related networks. It is based on a 35-hour work placement, which includes mentoring, exposure to various Bank functions and processes, and networking with senior management.

During the year, senior management women were invited to attend various external luncheons and information seminars. A course on career management was available to staff, attracting a large female representation.


Women accounted for around 43 per cent of the Bank's staff at the end of June 2011, which is comparable to the Australia-wide share of female employment (Graph 10).

By occupation, the Bank continues to evolve from an organisation predominantly comprising clerical 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 administrative positions, which contrasts with the situation a decade ago (Graph 11). Men continue to hold the majority of professional roles, with women accounting for one-third of such roles; women continue to dominate clerical administrative 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 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 been trending upwards over recent years and is currently at its highest level (Graph 14).

Forty-four per cent of promotions over the year to June 2011 were awarded to female staff, similar to their employment share and higher than the 10-year average of 39 per cent (Graph 15). Over a third of promotions awarded to women were to managerial positions, including executive management. This represents a significant increase in female management promotions compared to 2010.

The Bank's single largest recruitment drive 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 16). For the 2011 intake, female representation was slightly lower than average at 26 per cent.

Female staff accounted for 37 per cent of exits in the year to June 2011 (Graph 17). The majority of exits were from the professional occupation group.

Three-quarters of staff at the 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 tertiary educational 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 administrative roles; and
  • proportionately more men than women hold a post-graduate qualification.

During the reporting period the Bank's Study Assistance Committee awarded three Post Graduate Study Awards, with two men and one woman accepting the offers. 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 2010/11, the Bank's main focus for the ageing workforce was on the provision of training and development opportunities, along with the development of an information management policy which will play a role in knowledge retention and transfer across all age groups.

A number of career management and development programs were facilitated and staff approaching retirement were one of the target groups. An information management module was launched to all staff and one of its benefits will be the facilitation of corporate knowledge transfer across the organisation. The initiatives relating to age from the 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 2001, women in their thirties were in the majority, while women aged above 50 were in the minority (Graph 20). Now, however, the majority 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 those aged 50 and above decreasing.

These trends in the female workforce have given rise to a bimodal age distribution at 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, with one-third of women currently aged 45 and above, compared to around one-quarter of men.

Over the past decade, the average tenure of staff at the Bank has shortened somewhat. Currently 43 per cent of staff have spent less than five years at the Bank (Graph 23), compared with 34 per cent in 2001. The median tenure of staff is currently 6 years.

Staff aged 55 and above accounted for 17 per cent of exits during 2010/11 (Graph 24). The majority of staff leaving the Bank, however, do so before the age of 35, accounting for over half of total exits.



During 2010/11, the Bank's focus relating to disability was on recruitment and retention of persons with a disability, provision of training and support resources, and enhancing the accessibility of communication materials and tools.

The Bank joined the Australian Network on Disability, to promote the inclusion of staff with disabilities. The Bank will also participate in the Stepping Into Program in late 2011, which will provide a four-week paid internship for a final year university student with a disability.

The Bank recruited 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.

During the reporting period, the Bank continued to offer training aimed at raising awareness about disability in the workplace. This included disability awareness workshops for staff and managers. Mental health workshops were also offered to staff and managers, along with lunchtime information seminars on topics such as physical and mental health.

Opportunities to seek external assistance for staff with a disability were promoted within the Bank, including through the deafness awareness workshop. The main support service promoted and accessed 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 2010/11. These included:

  • the provision of accessibility workshops to staff and managers;
  • launching an online accessibility training module, which was an initiative of the Bank's Accessibility Consultative Group;
  • incorporating accessibility information into internal software training courses;
  • reviewing existing online modules to better incorporate accessibility features;
  • ensuring that the redesign of the Bank's external website was consistent with international accessibility guidelines, including a dedicated section on accessibility; and
  • reviewing the process of requesting and purchasing assistive technologies;
  • developing an IT accessibility project template; and
  • reviewing emergency procedures to incorporate personal evacuation plans for staff with a disability.


The proportion of staff with a disability was 4 per cent as at June 2011 (Graph 25). Staff with a disability represented 2 per cent of all exits in the reporting period, which reflects a decrease in exits of staff with a disability compared to 2010.

There may be some under-reporting of staff with a disability, to the extent that some staff are unwilling to declare a disability; and data are provided on a voluntary basis. Staff were asked to update their diversity profiles and advise the Bank of any newly acquired impairments during the reporting period.

Indigenous Australians


During 2010/11, the Bank's focus relating to indigenous Australians was primarily on increasing the representation of staff from an indigenous Australian background and promoting cultural awareness.

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

  • advertising all external job vacancies on indigenous Australian job boards and in the Koori Mail; and
  • recruiting an indigenous Australian trainee in 2011. Since the commencement of the Bank's participation in the traineeship scheme in 1991, 29 indigenous Australian recruits have participated in this training.

The Bank reviewed mentoring-program options to support the employment prospects of indigenous Australians. The Bank is working with local universities to establish a scholarship and work placement program for indigenous Australian university students.

To raise staff awareness on indigenous Australian history and culture, a training workshop was held during the reporting period. In addition, a selection of the 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 Bank.



During 2010/11, the Bank's race-ethnicity focus was on creating a culture of inclusiveness through training and awareness-raising initiatives.

The Bank continued to offer English language and writing skills training for staff from a non-English speaking background. Mandarin language training was offered to staff working on analysis covering Asian economies.

A series of cultural awareness workshops were conducted for staff. The Bank also offers an online tool where staff can view detailed cultural, business, travel and other information for around 60 countries. The Bank celebrated Harmony Day, encouraging staff to embrace cultural diversity.


The proportion of Bank staff who identified themselves as having been born overseas from a non-English speaking background has steadily increased over the past decade, reaching its highest level during the reporting period, at around 24 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 staff born overseas from a non-English speaking background are from the Philippines, followed by China, India and Vietnam. Staff born overseas from a non-English speaking background represented 11 per cent of all staff exits in this reporting period, which is lower than their share of employment.