Indigenous people excluded from leadership positions | Liverpool City Champion

Indigenous Australians hold less than 1% of management positions in the country’s largest employers, according to a first Australian report.

The Indigenous Employment Index, released by the Minderoo Foundation on Tuesday, found that only 0.7% of 42 organizations surveyed have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in leadership positions.

“It was not a surprising finding,” Shelley Cable, director of Generation One and Nyoongar’s wife, told AAP. “But it absolutely does not reflect the leadership capacity and the abilities of our people.

“Employers and organizations are typically absent by not having Indigenous Australians around their leadership tables. Indigenous leadership can completely transform the culture of a workplace.”

The report, which surveyed organizations employing more than 700,000 people in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, found that the average employment rate for Indigenous people was 2.2%.

With a parity target of 3.3%, Ms Cable said the figure was promising but still left room for improvement.

“What we need to achieve parity and proportional representation in a workplace is well on its way,” she said. “There is a wide range between employers, from 0.17% up to 10.9%.

“The fact that these employers voluntarily participated in this inaugural index shows that they all had a pretty sincere commitment to Indigenous employment parity.”

However, more than half of Aboriginal people reported experiences of direct or indirect racism at work (55%).

Some said they lacked the confidence to report racism because they feared repercussions or that their employer would not acknowledge their experience.

“Racism is still very much alive in Australian society and therefore also in Australian workplaces,” Ms Cable said. “It’s not unique to the 42 employers.

“This is clearly a very big problem that the industry as a whole needs to take serious action to address.”

Only half of participating employers collect data on Indigenous retention, with 62% reporting a lower retention rate for Indigenous employees than the rest of their workforce.

About three-quarters of employers have Aboriginal employment goals (76%), with two-thirds reporting progress regularly (67%).

Employers should record retention data, create employment goals and monitor goal progress to ensure workplaces are better for Indigenous Australians, Ms Cable said.

“There’s a pretty disproportionate effort to get people in the door and not an equal focus on keeping them and advancing them through the organization,” she said.

“Closing the Indigenous employment gap is a tough challenge, so trying to do it without data makes it even harder.

Australian Associated Press

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