The Diversity Council of Australia has reported that 3 out of 4 Australian workers support or strongly support their organisation taking action to create a workplace which is diverse and inclusive. Given also the strong business benefits of embracing cultural diversity, it’s not surprising to learn that many Australian organisations are now implementing diversity plans and encouraging employees to embrace initiatives designed to boost workplace inclusiveness.
But how well do such plans work? And what’s the opinion of people actually working inside such organisations? To answer these questions, we consulted insiders at various organisations that have comprehensive diversity policies. Below, you’ll find the five organisations that our graduate insiders voted as the best graduate employers in Australia for diversity. We asked our insiders to give these organisations a rating out of ten based on their success at promoting diversity: as you’ll see, the scores are pretty impressive.
Diversity rating: 10/10
As the world’s largest oilfield services company, Schlumberger employs approximately 100,000 people representing over 140 nationalities in 85 countries. Little wonder then that Schlumberger, an inherently diverse company, received full marks from our graduate insiders, who praised its efforts to support diversity with respect to women, ethnic minorities, and members of the LGBTQI+ community.
‘One of our greatest strengths is the diversity of our workforce, with men and women of many nationalities and backgrounds working together and sharing common objectives. Schlumberger does not have a 'nationality' which describes its culture, but operates in a truly global fashion throughout the world. As a company, we encourage fair employment practices worldwide and offer equal opportunities to all our employees. We also try to take family considerations into account in any decisions about personnel matters or assignments.’
‘I think it is important to attract people who are clearly aligned with what we have to offer and who understand that a Schlumberger career is far from being a regular 9-to-5 office job. When we are out recruiting, we are very transparent about this, so there are no surprises for new employees after they join. Then we try hard to deliver on what we promise through our technical training, borderless careers, and diverse company culture. . . .
Our people are unique, and we have a truly diverse mix of nationalities at every level of the company. We also move people around quite a lot so they develop a strong global network of friends and support. We trust young professionals with a lot of responsibility from the beginning and we promote based on merit, so how you progress is based on abilities and performance.’
‘There’s great diversity in terms of gender and nationality.’
Graduate, Brisbane and Roma
‘We’ve got many different types of people from all backgrounds.’
‘Schlumberger hires people from all backgrounds and all abilities. If you have a positive attitude and are willing to work hard then you'll be able to have a successful career with this company.’
Graduate, San Antonio
Diversity rating: 9.7/10
Founded in the 1940s, Caltex Australia now has 3,500 employees across the country and prides itself on the cultural diversity of its workforce: something it has encouraged with an active diversity and inclusion policy, as well as a forward-looking reconciliation action plan. These efforts appear to have paid off, with our graduate insiders awarding Caltex Australia a near-perfect score of 9.7/10.
‘At Caltex, we embrace a strong belief in the advantages of a diverse and inclusive workplace in which individuals of varied backgrounds and perspectives are welcomed, encouraged and given the opportunity to contribute to their full potential. Ours is a work environment where employees are valued for their distinctive experiences and the strength of their contribution.
By diversity, we mean the prevalence of difference in our workplace, including thinking styles, capabilities, education and background, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, family status and all the other unique differences in our backgrounds that make each of us who we are.’
‘At Caltex, we value the importance of diversity and inclusion, and we are committed to respecting the rights and interests of all Australians We also recognise the important role we can play in Australia’s reconciliation efforts. . . .
We are passionate about respecting and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures with our employees and in our business. We are committed to making a meaningful difference to the lives of all Australians. By creating opportunities for and learning from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, we will ensure we play our part to keep reconciliation in Australia moving forward.’
It is an expectation that our leaders will:
‘Encouraging to [see] more and more women in senior management. Has an excellent Indigenous program.'
‘We pride ourselves on being diverse to attract people from all walks of life into the company.’
‘[People from less privileged backgrounds] are encouraged to apply for internships/graduate programs. Sponsorship of indigenous communities and events.’
‘[We have an] excellent culture of diversity and respect.’
Diversity rating: 9.6/10
As the fourth-largest company in the world, General Electric (GE) employs some 300,000 people in virtually every part of the world (or at least 180 countries). The Australian branch of GE is an impressively diverse environment with policies in place that aim to ‘ensure that its workforce is as diverse as the communities in which it operates, while always upholding the importance of merit’. Certainly, our insiders feel that GE has made good on its promise: with a diversity score of 9.6 out of ten, GE has the third-highest ranking of all the companies in the GradAustralia graduate employer directory.
‘GE supports and embraces diversity in all forms. Our business portfolio is as diverse as our workforce and we believe that diversity of thought contributes to a more inclusive and innovative culture, aligned to our company beliefs.
With more than 300,000 employees and operations in over 170 countries, GE employees reflect both the local communities we serve and the people with whom we do business. This is true for our region where we cover Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. We see diversity and inclusiveness as an essential part of our productivity, creativity, innovation and competitive advantage.
We consider this culture to be among our most important innovations. The success of diversity at the company is a reflection of the integrity of our leadership, and our commitment to promoting the power of a vibrant and varied workforce.’
‘The power of diversity is well proven. If you build an environment inside an organisation that is open and inclusive, that engages people from different backgrounds, age, gender, ethnicity, and country of origin – you will deliver better outcomes. In our world, that means better business results.’
‘At GE, we’re a meritocracy. We believe in diversity… We believe that every person around the world deserves to be treated with respect.’
Jeff Immelt, GE CEO and Chairman
‘I believe there is a great culture and attitude towards diversity at GE. I have never seen or heard any conversation that would suggest otherwise, and conversations are always geared towards positive change in diversity-related discussions.’
Intern, North Sydney
‘I think they are quite flexible and quite international. Everyone is quite respectful.’
‘We have recently become [a] WGEA certified workplace, we have strong support for different diversity groups (e.g. the GLBTA Alliance, Women’s Network), with executive support for each of these diversity groups.’
Diversity rating: 9/10
In 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics adopted the 2018-21 Inclusion and Diversity Strategy, which sets out its intention to create a diverse workplace in which ‘everyone can contribute fully, feel valued, and be themselves without fear’.
‘The ABS encourages applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with a disability, mature age workers, people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTI+) people.’
‘We are committed to a culture that is inclusive, recognises the diversity of our employees’ experiences, knowledge and skills, and capitalises on these diverse perspectives, views and attitudes. We are committed to ensuring that every employee has equitable access to opportunities to contribute to the organisation, and that our endeavours support a culture that provides equity and gives our employees what they need to be successful. We encourage an environment that supports ongoing communication and dialogue with staff to explore, understand and address diversity issues and inclusiveness.’
‘I am committed to making the best use of the special skills and qualities of all our staff through strengthening an ABS workplace culture that fosters inclusiveness, builds respect and capitalises on diversity. In this way, our staff will be able to bring their best to the workplace and continue to contribute to increasing and sustained ABS success.’
David W. Kalisch, The Australian Statistician
‘Being government there is [sic] special initiatives to employ more women, staff with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, etc. In particular, there is a disability recruiting scheme. Maternity leave is also very generous and work areas are understanding and supportive of this long term leave.’
‘Indigenous applicants are encouraged, particularly for work where this background is relevant (e.g. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Surveys).’
‘The ABS is very diverse and has lots of initiatives in place to support minority groups.’
Diversity rating: 8.4/10
Don’t be fooled by the acronym ‘ANZ’: this bank operates in 34 markets, with staff members in Australia, New Zealand, Asia Pacific, Europe, America and the Middle East. Its workforce includes workers from about 200 cultural and ethnic backgrounds who speak over 90 languages. ANZ’s internal cultural diversity initiatives include a commitment to inclusive hiring, as well as a comprehensive reconciliation action plan. The company also works with the broader community through projects such as ‘Given the Chance’, which ‘provides former refugees and asylum seekers in Australia with the skills and experience needed to help them gain entry into the workforce.’
‘We believe in the inherent strength of a vibrant, diverse and inclusive workforce where the backgrounds, perspectives and life experiences of our people help us to forge strong connections with our customers, to innovate and make better decisions for our business.’
‘We want to achieve a workforce that reflects the diversity of our customers and the communities we operate in. It’s all part of our commitment to understanding our customers and their world better than anyone else.’
‘The bottom line is that we’re going to have to raise standards in everything we do. Already we’re going beyond simply complying with laws and regulations. We’re acting in a way that anticipates the needs and expectations of everyone who depends on our business. We’re doing this through the decisions we make and the way we tackle issues of real concern to society.
I want us to be known as a company that’s respected for being fair and balanced in the way we think about issues and for taking action to meet the expectations of our customers, employees and society.’
‘Diversity is a major focus area for my company. There are established programs to ensure the promotion of women and minorities in the workplace. Managers are also flexible and I have observed a lot of managers are flexible with staff who require time off or days working from home to care for children. ANZ is also heavily involved in campaigns for the LGBT community.’
‘Provides favourable support for maternity leave and is flexible in regards to child care. Diversity in the workforce with many females also employed.’
‘The company is very driven to have a diversified background. A lot more leaders are women which is great. They are particularly good with families in regards to child care etc.’
Workplace diversity is of key importance for many graduates. For more information, check out our article about equal opportunity in the workplace.