Action needed to boost diversity and inclusion

By on 8 June, 2022

©stock.adobe.com/au/SunnySideUp

Astudy of workplace diversity and inclusion in the space, spatial and surveying sectors has recommended action be taken to create a more inclusive industry.

Eight industry bodies joined with the Diversity Council Australia and Cultural Infusion in 2021 to analyse the state of diversity across the profession and looked at the positive impact inclusive teams can have on innovation, productivity and staff retention.

The Space, Spatial and Surveying Inclusion@Work report surveyed the sector and found that diversity and inclusion matter to industry members, with 1,000-plus respondents indicating overwhelming support for their workplaces to become more diverse and inclusive.

The report also found that diversity and inclusion action in the sector is already high, noting that it contains a higher-than-average number of inclusive teams, managers and organisations compared to the Australian workforce.

But there are still plenty of gaps. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori employees, those with disability, women, culturally diverse employees, and those who have caring responsibilities, reported low representation in the industry compared to the workforce average.

They also reported consistently lower levels of workplace inclusion, and some of the highest levels of workplace exclusion.

“This is the first time we have a baseline to help us to pinpoint areas where our sectors are doing well, and where we fall short of national benchmarks,” said Amelia Davies, Chair of the Space, Spatial and Surveying Diversity Leadership Network.

“If we are to dramatically improve the state of diversity and inclusion in our sectors, we need to embrace varied perspectives and identify and challenge our own behaviours and biases.”

The report recommends a ten-point approach to improving diversity and inclusion within workplaces:

  1. Value diversity and the lived experience of staff
  2. Invite those with experience of being marginalised to be involved
  3. Find out about cultural safety and how to provide it
  4. Adopt a Future-Flex mindset to challenge entrenched views
  5. Tailor the Future-Flex approach to support all employees
  6. Use metrics to identify diversity ‘drop-off’ points
  7. Design and deliver inclusive events for all employees
  8. Set up meetings for inclusion for all employees
  9. Start with yourself — reflect on your actions and words
  10. Share the Inclusion@Work report with your colleagues

Melissa Harris — Chair, ANZLIC and Registrar of Titles & Chief Executive, Land Use Victoria, Victorian DELWP — said that “Creating a more diverse and inclusive spatial sector with people from different backgrounds, with different perspectives and ideas will help maximise the opportunities to harness spatial information to deliver greater value across the economy going forward.”

“On behalf of ANZLIC, I would like to congratulate the SSSDLN for this fabulous and informative work. This was an important undertaking and collaboration across the spatial sector,” she added.

Kat Salm, President of Survey and Spatial NZ, said that S+SNZ recognises “the importance of diversity and inclusion in our professional sphere to incorporate the contributions and representation that all our current and future professionals can offer when tackling the big challenges we face.”

“Connection and collaboration, as well as breadth of ideas and experiences, help us to shape our future,” she said.

“We are very pleased that we could support the Space, Spatial and Surveying Inclusion@Work project, which helps provide an important baseline for our industry to build on.”

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