Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2019 Diversity Initiatives and Profile

The Reserve Bank's Diversity Profile

The total number of employees as of 30 June 2019 was 1,378. The diversity profile across the Bank has remained stable. There has been a slight increase in Indigenous Australian employees and a slight decrease in those who report having a disability. The number of employees from a non-English-speaking background has remained stable. Women comprise 44 per cent of employees and hold 35.2 per cent of management roles, up slightly from the previous period.

The number of professional roles has continued to increase over the 10-year period from 59 per cent in 2010 to 75 per cent in 2019. Across the same period, the number of clerical and administrative workers has decreased from 24 per cent in 2010 to 11 per cent in 2019.



The attraction and retention of skilled and experienced employees is affected by policies, practices and a culture that encourages and supports employees to manage their career and other life commitments. During 2018/19, the Flexibility ERG continued its focus on normalising flexibility across the Bank through a campaign designed to raise the profile of all staff who work flexibly. The aim of this program is to assist employees looking for flexible work but may lack confidence to speak up, to assist managers with the increasing visibility of flexible staff and teams, and address conscious and unconscious biases associated with flexibility. A key milestone for these activities was the Bank's participation in a State Government case study on flexible work.

… all requests for flexible work are expected to be given due consideration and supported wherever possible

The development of resources and tools to facilitate flexible work supports a culture in which these arrangements are part of our routine way of working across all staff in all areas of the Bank. The continued focus encourages the default view that any role can be flexible, while recognising that some roles might have limited opportunities for flexibility. As such, all requests for flexible work are expected to be given due consideration and supported wherever possible.

To assist employees with integrating work and personal commitments, the Bank also has an active health and wellbeing program. This includes:

  • the continued provision of an Employee Assistance Program, which provides confidential professional counselling and support to employees and members of their immediate families, via phone and face-to-face meetings. The service was accessed by 126 employees and 27 family members of employees during the reporting period
  • mental health training sessions for managers and employees were conducted throughout 2018/19. A total of 105 managers and 196 employees attended sessions
  • the Bank continues to provide fitness facilities and classes at Head Office, as well as fitness arrangements for employees located outside the Sydney office
  • sponsorship of 10,000 Steps, a team walking challenge, designed to encourage and motivate additional activity. More than 250 employees participated in the challenge
  • influenza vaccinations were offered to all employees at no cost; 507 employees were vaccinated during the 2019 program.

Recognising the importance of creating a family-friendly workplace, the Bank aims to raise the awareness of initiatives and provide support to employees and their family circumstances. This year, the Bank has provided:

  • the option to access a second year of parental leave as an employment entitlement
  • continued superannuation contributions for any employee on parental leave for up to 12 months
  • continued access to a dedicated Parent's Room. This facility was re-accredited by the Australian Breastfeeding Association during the reporting period
  • a ‘parental leave toolkit’ which informs employees of their entitlements and the resources available to support them before, during and after parental leave
  • information via a series of articles published in the Bank's This Week e-newsletter on recent updates, changes and improvements to our flexible working arrangements.

Throughout the reporting period, the Bank has continued to encourage employees to participate in the broader community by supporting involvement 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 supports a Volunteer Day Program that allows employees to access a day of annual leave to volunteer at an eligible charity. The Bank contributes to the charity by donating the equivalent of one day's pay for each participating employee.


The Flexibility ERG has provided updated information and resources for managers and employees about the Flexible Work Policy that was launched in August 2015. This includes continuing to raise awareness of the policy, toolkits and support available in the Bank.

As at 30 June 2019, 8 per cent of employees worked part time compared with 9.9 per cent a year earlier. Some points to note about part-time employees include:

  • 89 per cent of employees working part time in 2018/19 did so for at least six days per fortnight (Graph 1)
  • more women than men are participating in part-time arrangements at a ratio of approximately 4:1. (Graph 2)
  • 8.2 per cent of managers work part time.

During the reporting period, 28 women and 36 men commenced parental leave; 48 per cent of women returning from parental leave did so in a part-time capacity, down from 85 per cent in the previous year. Three women (12 per cent) resigned on completion of parental leave. (Graph 3).

Graph 1
Graph 1 Number of Days Worked by Part-time Employees
Graph 2
Graph 2 Employees Working Part time
Graph 3
Graph 3 Women Completing Parental Leave

Approximately 38 per cent of employees accessed carer's leave in 2018/19, (Graph 4; Graph 5).

The Bank offers a Purchased Leave Scheme that enables employees to request up to eight weeks additional leave in a year. A total of 68 employees purchased extra leave during the reporting period; 71 per cent of whom were women (Graph 6). Over 40 per cent of the purchased leave was for more than three weeks.

Graph 4
Graph 4 Leave for Caring Purposes
Graph 5
Graph 5 Leave for Caring Purposes
Graph 6
Graph 6 Purchased Leave Scheme

Gender Equity


Females account for 44 per cent of the Bank's employees, comparable to the Australia-wide share of employment of 47 per cent (Graph 7).

The share of women has increased at all levels

The Bank's current target of managerial positions filled by women by 2020 was achieved this year, with over 35 per cent of managerial positions filled by women at June 2019 (Graph 8). The Bank's longer-term commitment is to achieve a 50:50 representation of women in management positions. Ensuring all eligible candidates are provided with equal career opportunities remains fundamental to candidate selection and career advancement decisions. To achieve this commitment, a focus on succession planning and equity in development opportunities is a key focus. Achieving a 50:50 representation of women in all levels of management and throughout the organisation is also key to addressing the gender wage gap.

Graph 7
Graph 7 Female Employment

In addition, the Gender Equity ERG has raised awareness and promoted programs by hosting events and providing information through the following initiatives:

  • recognition of International Women's Day and the day's theme, ‘Balance for Better’, with a panel discussion moderated by Deputy Governor Guy Debelle and featuring staff members as panelists
  • advocating for changes to parental leave policies and supporting HR in assessing the culture around parental leave at the Bank
  • participation in various gender-focused external events held by CEDA and NEEOPA
  • developing and promoting opportunities for networking and informal mentoring
  • maintaining various outlets for research and discussion of issues related to gender equity, including a book club and blog.
Graph 8
Graph 8 Women in Management Positions


As already mentioned, women made up 44 per cent of the Bank's staff in 2018, which is similar to the level over recent years, while the share of women in management positions has increased from 26 to 35 per cent over the past decade.

One step towards achieving gender balance in the longer term is to ensure that the pipeline of talent in the Bank is balanced. The share of women has increased at all levels, most dramatically at the level of Assistant Governor, which has increased to 60 per cent (3 of 5) from zero. The share of women in other levels of management has improved over the past decade but still remains below 40 per cent and has declined marginally for non-managerial staff. (Graph 9).

The Bank has continued to focus on actively recruiting female talent to feed this pipeline. The share of women in new hires declined from its recent high of 50 per cent to 44 per cent in this reporting period but is above the long-term average (Graph 10).

Graph 9
Graph 9 Share of Females by Level
Graph 10
Graph 10 Female Recruitment

The Bank's Graduate Recruitment program is targeted at people completing their university studies in relevant disciplines. In 2018/19, more female graduates were employed than male for the second consecutive year; 17 female graduates joined the Bank in 2019, compared to 15 male graduates.

Promotion rates are another important factor to look at when considering how quickly the Bank might achieve gender balance. During the reporting period, 51 per cent of all promotions went to women and of the 13 employees promoted to management positions, seven of these were women (Graph 11).

Graph 11
Graph 11 Female Promotions

Over the reporting period, women represented 45 per cent of exits, which is similar to what it has been over the past decade; 51 per cent of exits were resignations. Contract expiration or end-of-demand accounted for a further 24 per cent. Retirements accounted for 7 per cent of exits.



The average age of Bank employees has remained steady at around 38 years since 2008 (Graph 12).

Graph 12
Graph 12 Age Distribution of RBA Employees

Compared with the overall labour force, the Bank has a relatively young workforce; 53 per cent of all employees are under the age of 40 (Graph 13). Around one-third of new hires are younger workers, under the age of 25 (Graph 14).

Graph 13
Graph 13 Age Distribution
Graph 14
Graph 14 Recruitment by Age Group
Governor Philip Lowe and Deputy Governor Guy Debelle supported ‘Wear It Purple Day’ alongside staff around the Bank in August 2018
Governor Philip Lowe and Deputy Governor Guy Debelle supported ‘Wear It Purple Day’ alongside staff around the Bank in August 2018

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI)


Throughout 2018/19, the Bank has continued to promote and encourage inclusion of members of the LGBTI community. The LGBTI+ Allies ERG has continued its focus on raising awareness of relevant issues, providing advice on LGBTI workplace inclusion, and providing a safe and effective peer support network for LGBTI staff and allies. The Bank remains an active member of Pride in Diversity (PiD), a not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion. This year, the Bank sent a delegate to PiD's annual conference and provided opportunities for staff to participate in a number of member workshops and roundtables.

To assess the current state of LGBTI inclusion, the Bank continues to participate in PiD's Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a national benchmark on LGBTI workplace inclusion. Results of the 2018 AWEI have assisted the ERG to focus on initiatives most likely to support members of the LGBTI community and enhance their experience as employees of the Bank. As a result of the report, the ERG has embarked on a project to provide clear and visible information for allies and family members of LGBTI staff. The project includes easy-to-find information on the Bank's Intranet site as well as participation in new-employee Induction programs.

The ERG has continued to raise the Bank's LGBTI awareness through Bank-wide initiatives aimed at recognising and celebrating LGBTI days of significance, such as Wear It Purple Day and the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. These initiatives have been very well received and have helped inform and engage a growing group of allies and supporters within the Bank. The ERG has recently sought to galvanise this support through the launch of a broader RBA Pride Network for LGBTI staff and allies within the Bank.

In conjunction with PiD, the Bank ran awareness training in the reporting period to improve awareness and information for Bank staff, with a particular focus on allies on acceptance and understanding of LGBTI issues and support.

ERG members have continued to engage with LGBTI staff networks at a number of other organisations, such as APRA and ASIC, to share experiences and learn about successful initiatives. Bank staff have also participated in meetings of an Interbank LGBTI Network, bringing together representatives from a wide range of financial sector organisations to share experiences on LGBTI workplace inclusion initiatives, programs and policies.

In conjunction with APRA and ASIC, the Bank is coordinating the development of an organisational Transitioning Guide to provide managers and staff with information on the relevant policies, support and entitlements for any staff member who identifies as transgender or who may be transitioning or detransitioning.

As a way to raise the external profile of its LGBTI inclusion goals and attract talent, the Bank has established an online profile on the LGBTI Inclusive Employers website hosted by PiD.



In December 2018, the Bank celebrated International Day of People with Disability by hosting an address from Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alistair McEwin. The Accessibility ERG chose this event to launch the Bank's Workplace Adjustment Guidelines & Passport (the Guidelines). The Guidelines set out the Bank's approach and processes to making sure that its workplace environment is inclusive of people who require temporary or permanent workplace adjustments. This helps to ensure that these employees are supported and are able to perform their role effectively.

The Bank's Procurement Policy and Guidelines are also being amended to include disability measures and accountabilities.

In April 2019, the Australian Network on Disability examined the Bank's current accessibility position. The results of this exercise assisted the group to identify the areas of focus for the Bank's Accessibility Action Plan.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day presented an opportunity to encourage our employees to talk, think and learn about how they can make digital technology more accessible, and to use the principles of inclusive design. The ERG hosted an immersive workshop, using simulators to demonstrate a range of vision impairments to provide employees with an experiential understanding of the conditions faced by many in the community.

Project managers across the Bank received training on how to incorporate accessibility into projects. The training provided insight into best practices and technical, legislative, people and budget requirements.

The ERG also hosted a screening of the Bardic Studio's annual Wide Angle Film Festival. The festival featured short films made by budding movie makers from around the world, featuring stories from the lived experience of people with disability.

Further awareness-raising was also achieved during the annual ERG Week Expo. ERG members were able to share information about initiatives with colleagues and encourage support from people from all areas of the Bank.

Over 200 staff attended awareness and educational events hosted by the ERG.


The proportion of employees who identified as having a disability was 1.8 per cent as at June 2019 (Graph 15). As data are provided on a voluntary basis, there may be under-reporting as some employees may not wish to declare a disability.

Graph 15
Graph 15 Employees with a Disability
In December, the Bank hosted Indigenous Australian students from the University of Sydney Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program and the UNSW Nura Gili program, December 2018
In December, the Bank hosted Indigenous Australian students from the University of Sydney Bunga Barrabugu Summer Program and the UNSW Nura Gili program, December 2018

Indigenous Australians


The Bank's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) seeks to promote the inclusion of Indigenous Australians in the Bank's workplace. Key actions in the RAP were delivered during the course of 2018/19. These included:

  • developing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness training strategy for staff
  • establishing protocols for Acknowledgement of Country for key meetings and events at Bank sites
  • developing an overarching recruitment strategy for which consideration is given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • providing a progress report on developing protocols for obtaining counsel and input from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the design of banknotes
  • liaising with Indigenous Australian communities and organisations; including organising to incorporate Indigenous businesses and agencies into the Banks' Regional and Industry liaison program later in the year.

In addition to the activities outlined in the RAP, a number of Bank staff worked on a project in collaboration with Deloitte Access Economics for the Central Australian Youth Link Up Service. The project undertook a cost-benefit analysis of providing housing for health professionals, teachers, Indigenous ranger coordinators and social workers in remote communities. The work – which is due to be completed in 2019 – was carried out by Bank staff on a voluntary basis and in their own time.

The 2018 NAIDOC theme was ‘Because of Her We Can’. To celebrate, the Bank hosted a panel discussion for staff on the important role of Indigenous Australian women in maintaining the welfare and prosperity of Indigenous communities. The panel was facilitated by Susan Moylan-Coombs, a Gurindji and Woolwonga woman and granddaughter of the Bank's first Governor, and included Professor Lilon Bandler, Auntie Millie Ingram and Bianca Hunt, all prominent female leaders in Indigenous advocacy.

National Reconciliation Week 2019 was also celebrated during the reporting period. At an event in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, D'harawal Elders Aunty Francis Bodkin and Uncle Gavin Andrews, shared an understanding of economic principles underpinning traditional land-management practices. Throughout the week, exhibits of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works of art from the Bank's archival collections were also displayed, and lectures from the Banks' Museum staff were held on the Banks' own historical involvement in reconciliation.

Additionally, the Bank continued its focus on increasing the representation of employees from an Indigenous Australian background through a number of avenues, including:

  • In 2019, the Bank continued its partnership with My Gateway, a Campbelltown-based apprentice and traineeship support organisation. Three trainees from the 2018 program graduated with Certificate III in Business Administration, one of whom has secured a full-time position at the Bank. Other former trainees have gone on to pursue further study or employment in fields related to economics and finance.
  • In 2018/19, five students undertook internships across semester breaks as part of the Bank's continuing partnership with CareerTrackers. One former CareerTrackers intern has since been employed in a permanent part-time position in the Banks' Economic Research Department. CareerTrackers is a non-profit agency that works with organisations to provide work experience, networking and professional development opportunities for Indigenous Australian university students.
  • The Bank has provided Aboriginal Cultural Awareness training sessions, presented by an external expert consultant. Over 30 staff have attended these sessions during the reporting period.
  • Opportunities for Indigenous Australian applicants have been highlighted on graduate job boards when advertising our internship program.


Indigenous Australians continue to account for only a small proportion of employees, at 0.2 per cent (Graph 16). CareerTrackers interns are employed for fixed-term periods throughout the year and not all were employed as at 30 June. My Gateway Business Administration Trainees are employed by My Gateway and are not included in this count. This is lower than the representation in the Australian community and the broader Australian workforce, but comparable to the proportion of Indigenous Australians working in occupational groups similar to those at the Bank.

Graph 16
Graph 16 Indigenous Australian Employees

Race and Cultural Identity


The Bank's employees represent a wide range of racial and cultural backgrounds. Reflecting the potential benefit of this diversity to the Bank – among other things, increased productivity, a larger talent pool and better employee retention – significant efforts were made to promote an inclusive workplace where different perspectives, needs and traditions are valued and respected, and employees from culturally diverse backgrounds feel they belong.

(Left) Consultant Dave Widders facilitated Indigenous Cultural Awareness workshops for Bank staff; (right) The Indigenous Australians ERG hosted a discussion circle with Aboriginal elders, Aunty Fran and Uncle Gavin, for staff to hear how Indigenous Australians have adapted to climate change throughout history, June 2019
(Left) Consultant Dave Widders facilitated Indigenous Cultural Awareness workshops for Bank staff; (right) The Indigenous Australians ERG hosted a discussion circle with Aboriginal elders, Aunty Fran and Uncle Gavin, for staff to hear how Indigenous Australians have adapted to climate change throughout history, June 2019

A major initiative this year was the launch of the SBS' Cultural Competency Program (CCP) in November 2018. The CCP is an online training program that explores topics including cross-cultural communication, addressing stereotypes, unconscious bias, diversity and the benefits of multiculturalism in the workplace. It also makes available a Cultural Atlas – an online resource providing detailed and practical information about a range of cultures. Available to all staff, the aim of the program is to build competence and increase understanding of cultural diversity in the workplace.

The Bank participated in Harmony Week, an event designed to celebrate Australia's cultural diversity. As part of the celebration, a ‘Listen to Your Colleagues' Journey’ session was held with speakers from diverse backgrounds sharing their stories. Each story gave voice to a different perspective and illustrated the deep connections that the Bank and Australia have with different cultures. In doing so, the event highlighted the theme of the week – Everyone Belongs. The annual Taste of Harmony Lunch was organised for staff to share food and embrace the richness of the multicultural workplace.

The Race and Culture ERG continued to celebrate culturally significant days and events. These included Diwali, Lunar New Year, St Patrick's Day and Thanksgiving. Hundreds of employees took part in the events and shared food and stories reflecting their cultural background.

The ERG also supported the observation of Ramadan and organised the Bank's first Eid al-Fitr celebration. Hosting this celebration for the first time, the ERG sought to raise awareness of the significance of Ramadan within the Bank. The event was accompanied by an information campaign to provide guidance on how to be considerate of our Muslim colleagues who may be fasting as part of their observance of Ramadan. The Bank's Prayer Room has been relocated and refurbished this year to help cater for religious requirements of our staff.

The Race and Cultural Identity ERG also collaborated with the Bank's other ERGs, and other government agencies and organisations. The latter has been facilitated by the formation of a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Network which brings together over 20 Australian Public Service departments and government agencies to share their experiences and discuss how the entities might work together to create a more supportive and inclusive work environment.


The proportion of Bank employees who identified as having been born overseas from a Non-English-Speaking Background (NESB) has remained consistent and is currently 25 per cent of staff. Most employees from an NESB originate from China, India or the Philippines. As data are reported on a voluntary basis, there may be some under-reporting as some employees may not wish to declare their cultural background.