Statement on diversity and inclusion from the National President of Professionals Australia, Andrew Russack
I write to you as your elected National President, regarding the upcoming marriage equality postal survey. The Board and I recently met to discuss the survey, and decided it was not appropriate to take a position in telling you, our fellow members, how to vote.
We do however strongly encourage all to members to participate and vote in the survey.
On the broader issue of diversity and inclusion, Professionals Australia has a clear policy position which can be found HERE. In short Professionals Australia is committed to:
- ensuring our members are valued, accepted and respected in the workplace for their unique contributions as people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives; and
- ensuring that our own organisation embraces diversity among staff and membership.
What does that main in practice?
Membership of our Association/Union. We strongly believe all professionals, regardless of their race, background, gender or sexual preference should feel welcome in our Association. As a collective organisation, our strength relies on embracing diversity and focusing on what brings us together. We aim to create and maintain an inclusive and collaborative culture.
Opposition to discrimination in workplaces. As an organisation, we strongly oppose discrimination in any form and fight for equality of rights and opportunity in workplaces. It is essential that our members feel welcome and work in a comfortable environment, irrespective of individual background or difference. All members should be provided the opportunity to allow them to reach their full potential. An inclusive and collaborative culture strengthens workplaces and ensures the community ultimately benefits from the skills, background, experience and perspective of all members.
A recent study by the insurer, Lloyds, found nearly half of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans gender and intersex Australians (LGBTI) hide their sexual identity at work, 6 in 10 LGBTI people experience verbal homophobic abuse in the workplace in Australia, while 2 in 10 experience physical violence. This is unacceptable and is clearly an issue that is an interest of Professionals Australia. I personally encourage you to identify practical ways we can better support our members in creating more tolerant and diverse workplaces.
Discrimination is dumb business. Equity and diversity are important factors in determining economic success at the national level and financial success at the organisation level. Diverse and inclusive workplaces encourage workforce participation, which then drives productivity improvement.
- Research shows that workplace diversity is linked to significant business benefits such as improved effectiveness, profitability and revenue generation as well as improved employee and customer engagement, greater product innovation and better staff retention rates. Diverse teams consistently outperform on innovation, problem-solving, flexibility, and decision-making1.
- Studies show that organisations with diverse workforces have superior business performance and better governance2.
- Research in Australia and overseas has found that companies with greater diversity on their boards delivered better financial performance.
- The 2015 McKinsey Report Diversity Matters indicates companies committed to diverse leadership are more successful culturally and are 15 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- A 2016 Lloyd’s study showed that when LGBTI staff are openly out, businesses see a 15 to 30 per cent increase in productivity and retention rates of staff improve by 10 per cent.
- International research also shows that racial diversity in the workplace is associated with increased sales revenue, more customers, greater market share and greater relative profits (Diversity Council).
A challenge for us all. The case for diversity and inclusion is overwhelming. No member should feel uncomfortable about being themselves- whether that be a woman in a male dominated profession; someone who has migrated to this country or someone with a minority sexual preference.
You are all professionals who deserve respect. You are all members who deserve respect. There are many thing that divide us. Professionals Australia understands our strength comes from inclusion and solidarity.
All members have a role in looking after other members in pursuing an inclusive and collaborative workplace culture.
National Board President
- King, J. (2005). Benefits of Women in Science, Science 308: 601
- Cassells, R. and Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (2017) Gender Equity Insights Report