Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2015 Diversity Initiatives and Profile

Work-life balance


The Reserve Bank recognises that having policies and practices that allow employees to manage their career and other life commitments more effectively is important in attracting and retaining high-performing employees. During 2014/15, the Bank pursued a number of initiatives relating to workplace flexibility, with the primary focus on providing training to senior managers about responding to flexible work requests, as well as raising their awareness of unconscious biases and workplace legal matters. A broader review of flexible work arrangements was also conducted, which will result in further enhancements in the coming year.

To assist employees with managing work-life balance, the Bank also has an active health and wellbeing program. This includes:

  • the provision of an Employee Assistance Program, which provides confidential professional counselling and support to staff via phone and face-to-face meetings
  • the sponsoring of a 30-day Health Challenge program, to promote healthy behaviours. It was taken up by 10 per cent of employees
  • the provision of fitness facilities and classes at Head Office, as well as fitness arrangements for employees in interstate and overseas offices
  • the provision of executive health assessments on a voluntary basis to senior staff
  • the provision of influenza vaccinations to all employees.

The Bank pursued a number of initiatives to promote family-friendly workplace practices, including:

  • the option to access a second year of parental leave absence as an employment entitlement
  • offering support for childcare places at an accredited childcare centre in the Sydney central business district
  • providing a dedicated Parent Room facility for staff. This facility was re-accredited by the Australian Breastfeeding Association during the reporting period
  • providing a work-life balance and career program, ‘Parents at Work’, to assist employees returning to work from parental leave
  • holding a series of information sessions for staff on recent improvements to the Bank's remote access technology, which support flexible working arrangements.

The Bank encourages employees to participate in the broader community by supporting participation in philanthropic pursuits in a number of ways. In particular, it matches all donations made by employees through the Bank's Benevolent Fund on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The Bank also has a Volunteer Day Program, where employees spend a day of leave helping at an eligible charity, and the Bank donates the equivalent of one day's pay to that charity.


To help monitor the work-life balance of its employees, the Bank looks at a number of different indicators, including:

  • the take-up of part-time work
  • parental leave usage
  • the use of carer's leave
  • the take-up of the Bank's purchased leave scheme.

During 2014/15, 8 per cent of employees worked part-time. Some points to note about part-time employees include that:

  • the majority of employees working part-time do so for at least six days a fortnight (Graph 2)
  • while most part-time working arrangements involve women, the share of men working part-time has increased over the past 10 years (Graph 3)
  • employees working part-time are typically older than full-time employees and have generally worked at the Bank for longer (Table 1)
Table 1: Employee Age and Tenure
Years, as at 30 June 2015
Median age 42 36
Median tenure 12 5

Source: RBA

  • professional and managerial employees accounted for two thirds of employees working part-time, while clerical and administrative employees accounted for one third

During the reporting period, a total of 62 employees commenced parental leave. There have been some changes in the use of parental leave provisions over recent years, including that:

  • men have been the predominant users of parental leave over the past seven years, although this gap has narrowed recently (Graph 4)
  • women typically take a longer break from work than men, with around 80 per cent of women returning from parental leave within 6 to 12 months (Graph 5); of this, 14 weeks is fully paid leave for birth mothers and two weeks for other parents.
  • women returning from parental leave typically do so on a part-time basis (Graph 6). In the year to June 2015, the majority of women returned to work at the conclusion of parental leave.

Leave for caring purposes was used by 40 per cent of employees in the year to June 2015, higher than the 10-year average (33 per cent). This was, in part, due to changes in the Bank's personal leave arrangements from 2010 (Graph 7). More men used carer's leave than women, accounting for 61 per cent of employees using such provisions. This is similar to their overall representation at the Bank but contrasts to the situation in the mid 2000s when roughly equal numbers of women and men accessed carer's leave (Graph 8).

The Bank's purchased leave scheme assists employees with balancing work-life responsibilities. Some points to note about the scheme include:

  • 3 per cent of employees participated in the scheme during the reporting period, with women accounting for close to 60 per cent of users, well above their employment share (Graph 9)
  • the majority of employees participating in the purchased leave scheme requested two or four weeks of additional leave (Graph 10), and are professional and managerial employees
  • around two-thirds of users of the scheme were aged in their forties and fifties
  • around one third of users accessed the scheme in both 2014 and 2015.



During 2014/15, the Bank's main gender-related focus was on developing a gender strategy and supporting initiatives to achieve the appropriate representation of women in management positions. To track progress on this priority, a gender target was introduced for 35 per cent of managerial positions to be filled by women within five years, with a longer-term aim of 40 per cent.

The Bank supports women by providing internal and external development, and networking opportunities. During the reporting period, women in non-managerial positions participated in a variety of career and personal development programs, including the Springboard Development Program. Senior women also attended various external development programs such as the Women in Banking and Finance Voice of Leadership Program, mentoring programs, executive education programs, conferences and International Women's Day celebrations.

To assist in attracting female candidates, the Bank actively promoted graduate opportunities, including the value of completing Honours studies in Economics and Finance through university networks and student societies. The Bank also emphasised its recruitment presence on professional and social networking websites. The Bank's Information Technology department continues to actively promote women in IT by taking part in events like the BiG Day In™ (sponsored by the Australian Computer Society) and University Graduation Ceremony (UTS) as part of IT's drive to lift its image among school and university students.

Four female managers from the Bank mentored four university students as part of the 2015 Lucy Mentoring Program. The program aims to provide female university students with an insight into professional careers and to create work-related networks. The students participated in a 35-hour work placement, which included mentoring, exposure to various Bank functions and processes, networking with senior management and project work. The Bank will continue to participate in future Lucy Mentoring Programs.


Women accounted for 42 per cent of the Bank's employees at the end of June 2015, slightly below the Australia-wide average (Graph 11).

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, an increasing proportion of women at the Bank are now employed in professional positions (Graph 12). Nevertheless, men continue to hold the majority of professional roles, while women hold proportionately more clerical administrative positions than men (Graph 13).

Reflecting the shift towards professional occupations, a higher proportion of women are managers than was the case a decade ago (Graph 14). Women currently hold 32 per cent of managerial positions, up from 25 per cent a decade ago and moving towards the Bank's target of having women hold 35 per cent of managerial positions by 2020 (Graph 15). One-third of Reserve Bank and one-quarter of Payments System Board positions, respectively, are held by women.

During the year to June 2015, 61 per cent of promotions were awarded to female employees, which is higher than their employment share of 42 per cent, and higher than the 10 year average of 41 per cent (Graph 16). Around 18 per cent of promotions awarded to women were to managerial positions, including executive management.

As at the end of June 2015, women accounted for 36 per cent of new recruits, which is slightly below the 10-year average of 40 per cent (Graph 17). This largely reflects the relative high proportion of employees recruited from male-dominated professions, such as information technology. The Bank's single largest recruitment drive each year is the Graduate Development Program. University graduates account for about 20 per cent of new recruits to the Bank each year and are an important source of professional and managerial employees. Typically, female graduates comprise around one-third of the total intake, a proportion that has been relatively constant over the past two decades (Graph 17). For the 2015 graduate intake, female representation was at 36 per cent.

Women accounted for 36 per cent of exits in the year to June 2015 (Graph 18). Over half of the female exits and three quarters of the male exits were from the professional occupation group.

About three-quarters of employees at the Bank have a post-secondary or tertiary educational qualification (Graph 19). 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
  • proportionately more men than women hold a postgraduate qualification, although the share of women with such a qualification is increasing.

The Bank has a Post Graduate Study Award scheme which provides funding to select employees undertaking further education. During the reporting period, five Post Graduate Study granted were awarded, with two female employees and three male employees accepting the offers. One female staff member was awarded part-time study assistance. There does not appear to be any significant difference in terms of access to Bank-sponsored training, with the proportion of employees participating in such courses similar for both women and men (Graph 20).

During the reporting period, employees completed a variety of internal management programs, including management essentials, influencing skills, negotiating and legal issues programs, with over a third of the participants being women.



During 2014/15, the Bank's main age-related initiative was to continue information sessions about planning for transition-to-retirement options for interested employees aged 45 years and above, including workshops and online retirement planning tools. This also involved retirement planning presentations from the Bank's superannuation fund.

As part of the Bank's Knowledge Management Strategy, interviews of current and retired employees continued, with the information being captured for transcription in an easy-to-search format for access by employees. In addition, a mentoring program was developed to facilitate knowledge transfer. The Bank also commenced the development of a more formalised succession-planning process, which will assist in the identification and management of various career stages across all age groups.


Since 2005, there has been a modest increase in the average age of Bank employees, from 37 to 38 years, reflecting an increase in the proportion of workers over 50 (Graph 21). This has been particularly pronounced for women where, in line with the trend for the general population, the proportion of female employees in the over 50 years of age category has increased from around 6 per cent in 2005 to 22 per cent in 2015.

Compared with the overall labour force, the Bank has a relatively young workforce; almost half of all employees are under the age of 35 (Graph 22). This is largely a result of the Bank's hiring practices; around 30 per cent of hiring each year is of younger workers, in part 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 completing their university studies, the Bank's workforce is likely to remain relatively young for the foreseeable future.

More broadly, as the general population and therefore the Bank's hiring pool ages, it is likely that this will eventually be reflected in the Bank's workforce. The average age of newly recruited employees has increased from 26 to 32 over the past decade (Graph 23), due to an increase in mid-career employees joining the Bank to support strategic projects.

Over the past decade, the average tenure of employees at the Bank has shortened somewhat. Currently 54 per cent of employees have spent less than five years at the Bank (Graph 24). The median tenure of employees is currently six years.

Employees eligible for retirement accounted for 9 per cent of exits during 2014/15. A large proportion of employees leaving the Bank do so before the age of 30, accounting for almost 40 per cent of total exits (Graph 25).



During 2014/15, the Bank's focus relating to disability was on recruitment, the provision of training and support resources, and enhancing the accessibility of communication materials and tools.

The Bank explored avenues for increasing employment opportunities for prospective employees with a disability, and partnered with Jobsupport to create permanent positions tailored for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The Bank renewed its membership of the Australian Network on Disability to promote the inclusion of employees with disabilities. The Bank also participated in the Stepping Into program during 2015. The program aims to provide university students with a disability with relevant workplace experience through a four-week paid internship. The program will continue in the new financial year.

The Bank assists those without post-secondary qualifications to enter the workforce and gain certification under the Federal Government's traineeship scheme, and ensures that the applicant pool includes individuals with disabilities. During the reporting period, the Bank continued to offer training aimed at raising awareness on disability and mental health in the workplace. This included workshops on mental fitness for employees and managers, along with lunchtime information seminars on various health topics. Mental health awareness was raised through the promotion of RUOK? Day, which aims to encourage conversations about resilience and suicide prevention.

The Bank consults with and supports employees with disabilities by ensuring reasonable adjustments and accessibility options are available. Opportunities for seeking assistance for employees with a disability were promoted within the Bank, including Jobsupport's Open Employment Program.

A number of accessibility-related initiatives were pursued during 2014/15. These included:

  • updating online modules to incorporate accessibility features more effectively
  • reviewing the IT systems project governance framework so that accessibility is considered in the early stages of projects
  • developing a framework to facilitate the assessment of accessibility and technology certification
  • purchasing an accessibility testing software tool to assist in analysing the level of accessibility compliance on websites
  • developing guidelines to assist staff in understanding their accessibility obligations
  • reviewing the Museum of Australian Currency Notes to identify areas of improvement for visitors with a vision impairment
  • ensuring the emergency procedures incorporate personal evacuation plans for employees with a disability
  • liaising with a number of representative groups from the vision-impaired community about how to ensure that Australia's banknotes can be as accessible as possible.

A review of the Bank's external website was conducted in 2013, which resulted in the identification of legacy PDF documents that were not fully accessible. The work to create accessible HTML versions of the legacy PDF files is progressing well towards meeting the requirements of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.


The proportion of employees who identified themselves as having a disability was 2.6 per cent as at June 2015 (Graph 26). However, there may be some under-reporting, to the extent that the data are provided on a voluntary basis and some employees may not wish to declare a disability.

Employees identifying with a disability represented 2 per cent of all exits in the reporting period, in line with their share of employment.

Indigenous Australians


During 2014/15, the Bank's focus relating to Indigenous Australians was primarily on increasing the representation of employees from an Indigenous Australian background and promoting cultural awareness.

The Bank uses a number of avenues to increase the representation of people from an Indigenous Australian background, including:

  • advertising all external job vacancies on an Indigenous Australian job board and the traineeship program in the Koori Mail
  • highlighting opportunities for Indigenous applicants when advertising the cadetship program on graduate job boards
  • recruiting one Indigenous Australian trainee each year (34 Indigenous Australian recruits have now participated in this training since the traineeship scheme commenced in 1991).

To raise employees' awareness on Indigenous Australian history and culture, a workshop was held during the reporting period, along with internal communications during NAIDOC week.


Indigenous Australians continue to account for a small proportion of employees, at 0.3 per cent (Graph 27). 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 2014/15, the Bank's race-ethnicity focus was on creating a culture of inclusiveness through training and awareness-raising initiatives, including Harmony Day celebrations. The Bank also promoted the cultural diversity of employees through internal publications.

The Bank continued to offer English language and writing skills coaching for employees from a non-English speaking background. Mandarin language training was offered to employees committed to the Beijing office.


The proportion of Bank employees who identified themselves as having been born overseas from a non-English speaking background has increased slightly over the past decade to 37 per cent (Graph 28).

The representation of these employees 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 originate from India, the Philippines and China. Employees born overseas from a non-English speaking background represented 25 per cent of all employee exits in this reporting period.