Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2012 Diversity Initiatives and Profile

Work-life balance


During 2011/12, the Bank pursued initiatives relating to work-life balance, including the provision of training, access to flexible work arrangements and support facilities. A focus group study conducted during the year provided valuable information in formulating work-life balance strategies for the new Diversity Plan.

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. The Standards give an employee who is a parent of a child under school age, or under 18 and with a disability, the right to request flexible work arrangements. An option to express interest in a work-life balance workshop was added to the learning and development catalogue for staff transitioning back to work from parental leave.

As part of the Bank's 2011 Workplace Agreement, the Bank has:

  • removed the cap on the accrual of personal leave
  • revised parental leave arrangements, with the second year of parental leave absence granted as an entitlement
  • undertaken to explore (in consultation with the Equity & Diversity Policy Committee) the introduction of further flexibility options including retirement, career breaks, varied work patterns to assist with study and development goals, and flexible use on a regular basis of accrued long service leave.

The option of a web-based portal for staff on extended leave to access Bank information was reviewed and approval was given for the project to commence in the next reporting period.

A time-series analysis related to career breaks commenced. The project aims to identify any effects of career breaks on an individual's career.

The Bank is an accredited breastfeeding friendly workplace and provides a Parent Room for parents, including women returning to work from parental leave. During September 2011, the Parent Room was relocated, with new facilities and additional resource materials, including a desk with provision to connect a laptop. The room was accredited by the Australian Breastfeeding Association, and highlighted in an edition of the staff magazine, Currency.

The Bank offers primary health care through the Bank's Occupational Health Centre, which provides advice to staff on work-related health matters, including ergonomic assessments and rehabilitation case management. The Bank also offers support to staff and their families through the Employee Assistance Program. This service provides confidential professional counselling and support via an online portal, phone and face-to-face meetings; it is promoted through the Bank's Health & Wellbeing Program. Employees continue to utilise this confidential facility, which is available for both work and non-work related matters.

The Bank undertook a number of initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of staff as part of its Health & Wellbeing Program. A series of seminars was facilitated by relevant experts on a variety of health topics, including mental health. The Bank also offered skin cancer checks and influenza vaccinations to staff. Additionally, 20 employees commenced a Health Challenge, a subsidised eight-week program which promotes a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance. The Bank also provided all employees with ‘Swap It, Don't Stop It’ health planners and tape measures as part of an Australian Government initiative to promote good health. Senior managers were offered the opportunity to participate in the executive health assessment program, which aims to promote good health through regular check-ups.

The Bank continued to provide fitness facilities and classes at Head Office, including pilates, cardio boxing and yoga classes, as well as subsidised arrangements for staff in interstate and overseas offices. The Bank also supports employee sporting clubs by providing injury prevention training and grants.


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 carer's leave
  • the take-up of the Bank's purchased leave scheme.

During 2011/12, 7 per cent of staff worked part-time. Some points 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). During this reporting period, 71 per cent of part-time staff worked six or more days each fortnight, compared with 59 per cent last year.
  • While the vast majority of part-time working arrangements involve women, the share of men working part-time has increased over the past 10 years (Graph 3). The share of women working part-time has decreased somewhat over the past three years and is at its lowest level in over 10 years.
  • Staff working part-time are, on average, older than the median age of full-time staff and have generally worked at the Bank for longer (Table 1).
Table 1: Staff Age and Tenure
Years, as at 30 June 2012
Part-time staff Full-time staff
Median age 42 35
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 whereas men working part-time tend to be in the their thirties or over 55 (Graph 4).
  • Professional staff accounted for a lower proportion of staff working part-time (47 per cent) than their share of employment (60 per cent). Conversely, clerical and administrative staff accounted for a greater proportion of staff working part-time (44 per cent) than their share of employment (23 per cent). A small number of staff accessing part-time work were managers (7 per cent), similar to their share of employment (11 per cent).
  • The incidence of part-time work is concentrated in the administrative, support and operational areas of the Bank (70 per cent), but is similar to their share of employment (67 per cent).

During the reporting period, a total of 40 staff commenced parental leave. 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 two-thirds of women returning from parental leave within 6 to 12 months (Graph 6). A third take more than a year's parental leave, an option which was facilitated in 2009 when the parental leave entitlement was increased from one to two years. Of this, 14 weeks is fully paid leave for women and two weeks for men.
  • 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 2012, a higher proportion returned to work part-time than has typically been the case.

To help support staff with children, the Bank offered support for childcare places at an accredited childcare centre in the central business district. As at 30 June 2012, 18 children from 14 parents were using the Centre.

Leave for caring purposes was used by 38 per cent of staff in the year to June 2012, lower than the 10-year average (44 per cent). More men used carers' leave than women, accounting for 56 per cent of staff using such provisions; however, this is equal to their overall representation at the Bank.

The Bank has a purchased leave scheme, which came into effect during the second half of 2009. Some points to note about the scheme include:

  • Two per cent of staff participated in the scheme in 2012, with women accounting for 72 per cent of users (Graph 8).
  • The majority of staff participating in the purchased leave scheme requested two or four weeks of additional leave (Graph 9), and are professional and managerial staff.
  • Around a third of the users of the scheme were in their thirties, followed by a quarter of users in their forties and aged over 50.
  • Around one-third of users accessed the scheme in both 2011 and 2012.

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 various other fundraising activities. This year, around 20 per cent of staff participated in a fundraising trivia night and, in addition, the Bank dollar-matched donations raised by staff through the MS Sydney to the Gong Bike Ride. The Bank also has a Volunteer Day Program, where 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 2011/12, the Bank's main gender focus was on promoting career and development opportunities for women in the Bank. The focus groups conducted during the year provided valuable information in formulating gender strategies for the new Diversity Plan.

To assist with attracting female candidates, 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 from the Bank mentored four university students as part of 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. The four second-year students undertook a 35-hour work placement, which included mentoring, exposure to various Bank functions and processes, networking with senior management, and project work. To raise awareness on the initiative, it was featured in the Bank's staff magazine, Currency. The Program proved successful, with one student successfully applying for a cadetship at the Bank, and will be offered again in coming years.

During the reporting year, female senior management were invited to attend various external luncheons, information seminars, mentoring programs and conferences, including the Harvard Leadership Best Practices executive education program.

International Women's Day was used as an opportunity to inform employees of the Bank's gender profile and initiatives, as well as to encourage suggestions for the new Diversity Plan. A book on 100 successful Australian women was also made available to staff.


Women accounted for 44 per cent of the Bank's staff at the end of June 2012, which is comparable to the Australia-wide share of female employment (Graph 10).

By occupation, the Bank has evolved 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 to 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 although to a lesser extent (Graph 13). Females currently hold 30 per cent of managerial positions, up from 23 per cent a decade ago (Graph 14).

Forty-seven per cent of promotions over the year to June 2012 were awarded to female staff, higher than their employment share of 44 per cent and higher than the 10-year average of 39 per cent (Graph 15). Around a quarter of promotions awarded to women were to managerial positions, including executive management.

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 2012 intake, female representation was the second highest in over 20 years, at 42 per cent.

Female staff accounted for 42 per cent of exits in the year to June 2012 (Graph 17), similar to their employment share of 44 per  cent. Half of these exits were from the professional occupation group, similar to the proportion of women employed in this category (51 per cent).

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 graduate 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 postgraduate qualification.

During the reporting period, the Bank's Study Assistance Committee awarded four Post Graduate Study Awards, with three female employees and one male employee 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 the reporting period, a higher proportion of female staff completed management programs than has typically been the case. Of the 18 participants completing the Central Banking Management Program, seven were female, and of the 16 participants on the New Managers Program, 13 were female.



During 2011/12, the Bank's main initiative was a consulting project on the ageing workforce undertaken by a study group participating in the Bank's Central Banking Management Program. ‘The Demographic Challenge’ study looked at projected workforce demographics over the next 40 years, and the challenges and opportunities that an ageing population might present to the Bank. Particular interest was paid to the Bank's structure and work practices, remuneration arrangements, benchmarking, and possible changes the Bank might consider to better prepare itself.

A number of career management and development programs were reviewed with a view to being introduced in the next reporting period. The programs are an extension of the career management training introduced in the previous reporting period (where staff approaching retirement were one of the target groups), and align with the recommendations of the Central Banking Management Program study.

As part of the Bank's Knowledge Management Strategy, interviews of current and retired employees commenced, with the information captured to be transcribed in an easy to search format for access by employees.

Two researchers from the University of New South Wales undertook a cross-cultural research study looking at retirement planning and wellbeing of employees, with around 10 per cent of the Bank's staff aged over 45 volunteering to participate in the research.


There has been limited evidence of ageing in the Bank's workforce over the past decade (Graph 20). Since 2002, there has been a modest increase in the average age of Bank staff, from 37 to 38 years, associated with a small increase in the proportion of workers over 65. This has been particularly pronounced for women where, in line with the trend for the general population, the proportion of female employees in the 55–59 age category increased from around 1 per cent in 2002 to 7 per cent in 2012.

Compared with the overall labour force, the Bank has a relatively young workforce; almost half of all staff are under the age of 35 (Graph 21). This is largely a result of the Bank's hiring practices; around 35–40 per cent of hiring each year is of younger workers, reflecting the role of the graduate, cadetship and traineeship programs. To the extent that these programs remain important, and that these positions continue to be filled by younger people with a low average tenure, the Bank's workforce is likely to remain relatively young for the foreseeable future.

An interesting feature of the Bank's current age distribution is the very low share of workers 65 years or above: less than 10 per cent of employees are over 55, with only a few people 65 or above.

More broadly, as the general population and therefore the Bank's hiring pool is ageing, it is likely that this will eventually be reflected in the Bank's workforce. The average age of new employees has increased slightly over the past decade (Graph 22).

Over the past decade, the average tenure of staff at the Bank has shortened somewhat. Currently, 44 per cent of staff have spent less than five years at the Bank (Graph 23), compared with 38 per cent in 2002. The median tenure of staff is currently six years.

Staff eligible for retirement accounted for 17 per cent of exits during 2011/12 (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 2011/12, 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 renewed its membership of the Australian Network on Disability, to keep informed of best practice and promote the inclusion of staff with disabilities. The Bank also participated in their ‘Stepping Into…’ program during February 2012. The program provided a four-week paid internship for a final year university student with a disability. The Program will be offered again in coming years.

The Bank recruited two people 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 on disability in the workplace. This included mental health workshops for staff and managers, along with lunchtime information seminars on topics such as physical and mental health. The training materials were made available on the intranet, along with an audio recording. The Bank has also been closely monitoring the new Work Health and Safety legislation with respect to psychological hazards.

Opportunities to seek assistance for staff with a disability were promoted within the Bank, including JobAccess, a government initiative designed to provide workplace assessments for assistive technology and, where appropriate, funding for staff with a disability.

A number of accessibility-related initiatives were pursued during 2011/12. These include:

  • the provision of accessibility workshops to staff and managers, with over 20 per cent of the Bank's employees attending
  • updating online modules to better incorporate accessibility features
  • refining the online accessibility training module
  • reviewing the options for improving the process of requesting and purchasing assistive technologies
  • reviewing the systems project governance framework so that accessibility is considered in the early stages of projects
  • reviewing available software tools to assist in analysing the level of accessibility on websites
  • commencing a review of the Museum of Australian Currency Notes to identify areas of improvement for visitors with a vision impairment
  • updating the procurement guidelines to include a section on accessibility considerations with respect to new furniture purchases and refurbishments
  • updating the emergency procedures to incorporate personal evacuation plans for staff with a disability.

The Bank's external website was redeveloped in December 2009 to conform to internationally accepted accessibility standards. Since then, most documents have been published in accessible HTML format. A review of the website was conducted in 2011/12 to identify legacy PDF documents that are not available in alternative formats resulting in a plan to enhance their accessibility.


There may be some under-reporting of people with a disability, to the extent that some staff are unwilling to declare a disability, and data are provided on a voluntary basis. Staff who had no diversity details recorded were asked to update their diversity profiles during the reporting period, capturing some employees who previously had not identified a disability. These employees did not require any adjustments to their work environment.

The proportion of staff with a disability was 4 per cent as at June 2012 (Graph 25). Staff with a disability represented 3 per cent of all exits in the reporting period, similar to their share of employment.

Indigenous Australians


During 2011/12, 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 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 and the traineeship program in the Koori Mail
  • recruiting three Indigenous Australian trainees in 2012, the largest number the Bank has recruited since its participation in the traineeship scheme commenced in 1991 (32 Indigenous Australian recruits have now participated in this training).

The government's Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme, which matches tutors with Indigenous university students, was promoted to the Bank's tertiary-educated employees.

To raise staff awareness on Indigenous Australian history and culture, a training workshop was held during the reporting period. The workshop slides and an audio recording were made available to all staff on the intranet. In addition, a selection of the Bank's Indigenous artwork was displayed in the Museum of Australian Currency Notes during NAIDOC week celebrations in July.


Indigenous Australians continue to account for a small proportion of staff, at 0.7 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 2011/12, 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 training was offered to staff, including those engaged in analysis of Asian economies.

A series of cultural awareness workshops were conducted for staff, including the pilot of a one-hour lunchtime cultural intelligence workshop. The Bank also offers an online tool where staff can view detailed cultural, business, travel and other information for around 60 countries.

Harmony Day, celebrated in March, was used as an opportunity to advise employees of the Bank's ethnic profile and initiatives, and offered an opportunity for employees to contribute ideas to the new Diversity Plan.


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 25 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 26 per cent of all staff exits in this reporting period, similar to their share of employment.