Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2017 Introduction

This is the 30th Equity & Diversity Annual Report of the Reserve Bank of Australia (the Bank), as required under section 9 of the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987. The reporting period covers 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017.

Approach to Diversity

Valuing diversity and inclusion provides the Bank with a strong foundation that helps to shape our culture and the way we work. The Bank aims to embed equity, diversity and inclusion principles in its culture and practices. It also pursues a range of initiatives to continually strengthen and reinforce diversity and inclusion in the workplace; these initiatives are outlined in the Bank's Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2016–19 (Diversity Plan).

To ensure that its diversity and inclusion practices remain appropriate, the Bank annually reviews its workforce diversity profile, the take-up of its existing policies and programs, the implementation of the initiatives outlined in the Diversity Plan, as well as any relevant external developments. This annual report provides a summary of that review.

Roles & Responsibilities

The Bank aims to ensure that all employees proactively undertake their diversity and inclusion responsibilities within their sphere of influence.

Executive Committee

The Bank's Executive Committee is the key governing body responsible for the strategic direction of the Bank's equity, diversity and inclusion practices. It approves the Bank's Diversity Plan, Statement of Commitment and annual report.

Diversity & Inclusion Council

In November 2016 the Bank established the Diversity and Inclusion Council (the Council). The Council is chaired by the Deputy Governor and includes the executive sponsors and chairs of six Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). The Council makes recommendations on equity, diversity and inclusion matters to the Executive Committee and the Governor. The Council is also responsible for monitoring and reporting on the development and implementation of equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, including initiatives of the ERGs. Council members contribute to the Bank's Diversity Plan, Statement of Commitment and annual report.

Employee Resource Groups

At 30 June 2017 there were six ERGs. Each group comprised 15–30 staff members, including a chairperson and executive sponsor. All of the groups play a role in creating an inclusive culture, raising awareness of diversity and inclusion matters and driving innovation. Each of the six ERGs is responsible for a specific dimension of diversity, namely:

  • Gender Equity
  • Flexibility
  • Indigenous Australians
  • Accessibility
  • Race and Cultural Identity
  • LGBTI + Allies.

Executive management

Executive managers, including those who are Deputy Heads of Departments and above, are responsible for the implementation of equity, diversity and inclusion activities and performance within their areas. This includes activities such as recruitment and selection processes, performance assessments, development opportunities, remuneration outcomes, flexible work requests and leave applications.

Managers and supervisors

Managers and supervisors are responsible for taking active measures to promote diversity and inclusion in their work areas, preventing discrimination or harassment from occurring, and dealing promptly and effectively with any such issue that arises.

All employees

All employees are required to ensure that their actions in the workplace are consistent with the Bank's values and principles for diversity and inclusion.

For equity, diversity and inclusion principles to be integrated into all work practices, employees must be well informed about the Bank's diversity-related policies and relevant legislation. The Bank strives to achieve this through its policy framework, training and awareness-raising initiatives. The creation of seven new SharePoint sites, one for the Council and one for each of the ERGs, has enabled interactive communication with staff, as well as the promotion of events and resources.

Strategy and policy initiatives

An important component of the Bank's approach to diversity is its People and Culture Strategy, which was launched in 2013. The strategy recognises executive management's commitment to ensuring that the Bank provides a productive, inclusive and rewarding workplace. The importance of fostering an inclusive and flexible work environment is one of the four focus points of the strategy, along with employee engagement, talent management and leadership development.

Significant progress in implementing the diversity and inclusion related elements of the People and Culture Strategy was made over the past year, most notably through the formation of the ERGs, which involve over 130 members of staff from across the Bank in diversity and inclusion matters. The ERGs have researched and made recommendations on best-practice approaches in both the private and public sectors. They have sought the opinions and personal stories of their peers as well as discussing their own experiences. The diversity of thought and experience within these groups has challenged the Bank in positive ways.

The Bank has expanded on its framework for flexible work, which provides clear guidelines, processes and resources to support such arrangements. The Bank continued to implement actions that were initiated in response to feedback from the 2015 employee engagement survey which allowed for analysis of employee engagement by key demographics including sex, age and tenure, as well as the collection of detailed information relating to the take-up of different forms of flexible work. The survey identified that employees continue to perceive diversity to be a key strength of the Bank.

In 2015 the Bank implemented a more formalised framework for talent management. The framework has been actively used in considering staff movements, both upward and lateral. And also in providing career development opportunities and coaching for particular staff.

Statement of Commitment

In 2017 the Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Commitment replaced the 2015 Diversity and Inclusion Policy. The Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Commitment outlines the Bank's commitment to:

  • provide equal employment opportunities for all current and prospective employees based on their ability and performance
  • foster the inclusion of women, various age groups, people with disabilities, people of diverse cultural backgrounds, Indigenous Australians and LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) employees within our workplace
  • develop a deep and diverse pool of well-trained potential leaders in order to increase the diversity of people who hold management positions. The Bank has a gender diversity target of 35 per cent of management roles to be held by women by 2020, with a longer-term aim of 50 per cent
  • promote an inclusive and collaborative culture by ensuring employees are treated fairly and equitably in line with the Bank's values
  • equitably enact and apply the Bank's policies, including those in relation for workplace conduct, leave, flexible work arrangements, grievances, performance management, remuneration, recruitment and selection.

Training and awareness

The Bank actively promotes diversity through its leadership development programs for managerial staff, including unconscious bias and inclusive leadership modules. These programs support expected workplace behaviours and assist managers in embedding the Bank's values.

During the reporting period, the Bank provided training to staff on their workplace responsibilities related to equity, diversity and conduct. All employees completed training on the Code of Conduct and Workplace Behaviour, which covered the Bank's values, expected workplace behaviour, roles and responsibilities, anti-discrimination legislation and the Bank's Diversity program. New employees are required to complete such training as part of their Induction Program.

Raising awareness of the individual and organisational benefits of diversity and inclusion is a key priority for all of the ERGs. They have used various methods to engage with one another and with staff in all locations. Presentations and panel discussions featuring both internal and external experts have been video recorded and posted online. New ERG SharePoint sites have enabled the sharing of original and curated content, including news feeds, photo libraries and a blog. Diversity and inclusion has been the subject of several articles and policy updates in employee publications, all of which are available on the Bank's intranet. Diversity-related policies, programs and resources, such as the Bank's Diversity Plan, the Equity & Diversity Annual Report and guides for employees on diversity matters, such as accessibility, are also available on the intranet.

External membership

The Bank keeps up to date on external equity, diversity and inclusion practices through memberships to ensure its Diversity and Inclusion Plan remains current. During the reporting period, the Bank joined Pride in Diversity, a not-for-profit employer support program on LGBTI workplace inclusion, and renewed its membership of Diversity Council Australia, a not-for-profit diversity adviser to businesses in Australia. The Bank also renewed and upgraded its membership with the Australian Network on Disability (a not-for-profit organisation that aims to advance the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of employment) and the NSW Equal Employment Opportunity Practitioners' Association. The Bank was also re-accredited as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace by the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

The Bank expanded the CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program to increase employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians, and renewed its membership of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute to help improve the representation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic disciplines.

Data Collection

Equity and diversity information is sought from employees when they commence employment at the Bank and as part of a periodic profile update. It is provided on a voluntary basis, and includes information on disability, indigeneity, ethnic origin and proficiency in languages other than English. The Bank's equity and diversity statistics are based primarily on these data.

For potential employees of the Bank, the job application form contains an equity and diversity questionnaire, which provides the Bank with a better understanding of the applicants from a diversity perspective and facilitates any reasonable adjustments that might be required, both during the recruitment process and in subsequent employment.

The collection of additional diversity data, including anonymous data gathered through surveys, is an area of focus. A Diversity Data Working Group has been formed, which will make recommendations to the Diversity and Inclusion Council in 2017/18.

The Reserve Bank's Diversity Profile

At the end of June 2017, the Reserve Bank (excluding Note Printing Australia Limited) had 1,369 employees. Over the past decade, within a relatively stable diversity profile in the Bank overall, there has been a decline in the share of Indigenous Australians and employees who report they have a disability (Graph 1). The share of women in the Bank's workforce has increased by two percentage points in the last year. Women held 42 per cent of positions and 32 per cent of management positions as at 30 June 2017.