Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2013 Diversity Initiatives and Profile

Work-life Balance


During 2012/13, the Bank pursued initiatives relating to work-life balance, including the provision of training and access to flexible work arrangements.

Leadership development training was provided to senior managers on unconscious bias associated with employment-related decision-making. This leadership program generated discussion on the obstacles to promoting a more flexible workplace, including the difficulty of implementing more flexible and part-time arrangements. In response, the Bank commenced a project on workplace flexibility, in consultation with the Diversity & Inclusion Policy Committee and a management project team, with the aim of understanding employees' flexibility issues and building a culture that embraces workplace flexibility.

As part of the Bank's 2011 Workplace Agreement, employees now have the opportunity to access a second year of parental leave absence as an entitlement. The Bank is a breastfeeding friendly workplace and provides a Parent Room for staff, including women returning to work from parental leave. The Bank was re-accredited by the Australian Breastfeeding Association during the reporting period.

To assist employees with work-life balance, as it relates to employee health and wellbeing, the Bank offers health assistance through its Work Health and Safety Program. This includes advice on work-related health matters, such as ergonomic assessments and rehabilitation case management in the event of a work-related injury. The Bank also offers support to employees and their families through the Employee Assistance Program. This service provides confidential professional counselling and support via an online portal, phone and face-to-face meetings. Employees continue to utilise this confidential facility, which is available for both work and non-work related matters, and includes a program for supervisors with employee-related concerns.

The Bank delivered a number of other initiatives as part of its Health & Wellbeing Program. A series of seminars was facilitated by relevant experts on a variety of health topics, including mental health, nutrition, immunity and heart health. The Bank also offered influenza vaccinations to employees. Additionally, 20 employees commenced a Health Challenge, a subsidised nine-week program which promotes a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance.

The Bank continued to provide fitness facilities and classes at Head Office, including Pilates, cardio boxing and yoga classes, as well as subsidised arrangements for employees in interstate and overseas offices. The Bank also supports employee sporting clubs by providing injury prevention training and grants.


To help monitor the work-life balance of its employees, the Bank looks at a number of different indicators, including:

  • access to part-time work
  • parental leave usage
  • the use of carer's leave
  • the take-up of the Bank's purchased leave scheme.

During 2012/13, 8 per cent of employees worked part-time. Some points to note about part-time employees include:

  • The majority of employees working part-time do so for at least six days a fortnight (Graph 2). During this reporting period, 77 per cent of part-time employees worked six or more days each fortnight, compared with 71 per cent last year.
  • While the vast majority of part-time working arrangements involve women, the share of men working part-time has increased over the past 10 years (Graph 3). The share of women working part-time has increased over the past three years.
  • Employees working part-time are, on average, older than the median age of full-time employees and have generally worked at the Bank for longer (Table 1).
Table 1: Staff Age and Tenure
Years, as at 30 June 2013
Median age 43 36
Median tenure 11 6

Source: RBA

  • The age profile of employees working part-time differs between men and women, with the majority of female employees working part-time aged in their thirties and forties whereas men working part-time tend to be in their late thirties or over 50 (Graph 4).
  • Professional and managerial employees accounted for 58 per cent of employees working part-time and clerical and administrative employees accounted for 38 per cent of employees working part-time.
  • The incidence of part-time work is concentrated in the corporate and business services areas of the Bank (73 per cent), but is similar to their share of employment (68 per cent).

During the reporting period, a total of 49 employees commenced parental leave. There have been some changes in the use of parental leave provisions over recent years, including:

  • Men have been the predominant users of parental leave over the past seven years, in contrast to the situation a decade ago (Graph 5).
  • Women typically take a longer break from work than men, with 61 per cent of women returning from parental leave within 6 to 12 months (Graph 6). A smaller proportion of women (17 per cent) take more than a year's parental leave, an option which was facilitated in 2009 when the right to request two years of parental leave was introduced. Of this, 14 weeks is fully paid leave for women and two weeks for men.
  • Women returning from parental leave typically do so on a part-time basis (Graph 7). In the year to June 2013, all women returned to work at the conclusion of parental leave, with a higher proportion engaged in part-time work than has typically been the case.

To help support employees with children, the Bank offered support for childcare places at an accredited childcare centre in the central business district. As at June 2013, 10 employees were using the centre.

Leave for caring purposes was used by 39 per cent of employees in the year to June 2013, higher than the 10-year average (33 per cent). More men used carer's leave than women, accounting for 56 per cent of employees using such provisions; however, this is similar to their overall representation at the Bank.

The Bank's purchased leave scheme assists employees with balancing work-life responsibilities. Some points to note about the scheme include:

  • During the reporting period, 2 per cent of employees participated in the scheme, with women accounting for 68 per cent of users (Graph 8). The usage of the scheme by women has progressively increased over the past five years.
  • The majority of employees participating in the purchased leave scheme requested two or four weeks of additional leave (Graph 9), and are professional and managerial employees.
  • Around 56 per cent of users of the scheme were in their twenties and thirties.
  • Around half of users accessed the scheme in both 2012 and 2013.

The Bank supports participation 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 has a Volunteer Day Program, where employees spend a day of leave helping at an eligible charity, and the Bank donates to that charity the equivalent of one day's pay.



During 2012/13, the Bank's main gender focus was on promoting career and development opportunities for women in the Bank, which was further reinforced through the inclusion activities that stemmed from the unconscious bias leadership development program. A strong focus of the program was to understand whether there are any barriers in the Bank's policies and practices that may hinder progression of women. As a first step, the Bank consulted with senior management to develop a competency framework that could assist in career planning and development of leaders across the organisation. A career planning program and resume writing workshop were piloted to assist employees identify strengths, preferences and to help with their career options.

The Bank supports women by providing external development and networking opportunities. During the reporting period, five women in non-managerial positions participated in the Springboard career and personal development program. Senior women also attended various external seminars, mentoring programs, executive education programs, conferences and International Women's Day celebrations.

To assist in attracting female candidates, the Bank actively promoted graduate opportunities through university networks and student societies, including the value of completing Honours studies in Economics and Finance. The Bank also established a recruitment presence on social networking websites.

Three female managers from the Bank mentored three university students as part of the 2013 Lucy Mentoring Program through the University of Sydney and University of Technology, Sydney. The program aims to provide female university students with an insight into professional careers and to create work-related networks. The students participated in a 35-hour work placement, which included mentoring, exposure to various Bank functions and processes, networking with senior management and project work. The Bank will continue to participate in future Lucy Mentoring Programs.


Women accounted for 43 per cent of the Bank's employees at the end of June 2013, which is comparable to the Australia-wide share of female employment (Graph 10).

By occupation, the Bank has evolved from an organisation predominantly comprising clerical administrative positions, to one predominantly professional in nature – a trend apparent in the financial sector more broadly. As a result, the majority of women at the Bank are now employed in professional positions, which is in contrast to the situation a decade ago (Graph 11).

Men continue to hold the majority of professional roles; women continue to dominate clerical administrative positions, holding around two-thirds of such positions (Graph 12). These proportions have changed little over the past decade.

Reflecting the shift towards professional occupations, a higher proportion of women and men are now managers than was the case a decade ago, with the difference being more apparent for women (Graph 13). Women currently hold 29 per cent of managerial positions, up from 24 per cent a decade ago (Graph 14). One-third of Reserve Bank and one-quarter of Payments Systems Board positions, respectively, are held by females.

During the year to June 2013, 44 per cent of promotions were awarded to female employees, in line with their employment share of 43 per cent, and higher than the 10-year average of 40 per cent (Graph 15). Around 16 per cent of promotions awarded to women were to managerial positions, including executive management.

The Bank's single largest recruitment drive each year is the Graduate Development Program. University graduates account for about a third of new recruits to the Bank each year and are an important source of professional and managerial employees. Typically, female graduates comprise around one-third of the total intake, a proportion that has been relatively constant over the past two decades (Graph 16). For the 2013 intake, female representation was at its highest in over 20 years, at 49 per cent.

Women accounted for 53 per cent of exits in the year to June 2013 (Graph 17). Half of these exits were from the professional occupation group.

Three-quarters of employees at the Bank have a post-secondary or tertiary educational qualification (Graph 18). Where differences exist, they are that:

  • the HSC is the highest educational qualification for proportionately more women than men, reflecting the higher representation of women in clerical administrative roles
  • proportionately more men than women hold a postgraduate qualification, although the share of women with a postgraduate qualification is increasing.

During the reporting period, the Bank's Study Assistance Committee awarded four Post Graduate Study Awards, with one female employee and three male employees accepting the offers. There does not appear to be any gender differences in access to Bank-sponsored training, with the proportion of employees participating in such courses similar for both women and men (Graph 19).

During the reporting period, a higher proportion of women completed management programs, including the Central Banking Management and the New Managers programs, than has typically been the case. Of the 67 participants completing these programs, 21 were women.



During 2012/13, the Bank's main age-related initiative was in relation to career management and transition-to-retirement programs for employees aged 45 years and above, including workshops and online retirement planning tools. This also involved retirement planning presentations from the Bank's superannuation fund.

As part of the Bank's Knowledge Management Strategy, interviews of current and retired employees continued, with the information being captured for transcription in an easy to search format for access by employees. Additional methods of knowledge capture from staff nearing retirement are being explored.


The age distribution of the Bank's workforce has changed little over the past decade (Graph 20). Since 2003, there has been a modest increase in the average age of Bank employees, from 37 to 38 years, associated with a small increase in the proportion of workers over 65. This has been particularly pronounced for women where, in line with the trend for the general population, the proportion of female employees in the 55–59 age category increased from around 3 per cent in 2003 to 6 per cent in 2013.

Compared with the overall labour force, the Bank has a relatively young workforce; almost half of all employees are under the age of 35 (Graph 21). This is largely a result of the Bank's hiring practices; around 40 per cent of hiring each year is of younger workers, in part reflecting the role of the graduate, cadetship and traineeship programs. To the extent that these programs remain important, and that these positions continue to be filled by younger people with a low average tenure, the Bank's workforce is likely to remain relatively young for the foreseeable future.

An interesting feature of the Bank's current age distribution is the very low share of workers 65 years or above; less than 10 per cent of employees are over 55, with only a few people 65 or above.

More broadly, as the general population and therefore the Bank's hiring pool is ageing, it is likely that this will eventually be reflected in the Bank's workforce. The average age of newly recruited employees has increased slightly over the past decade (Graph 22).

Over the past decade, the average tenure of employees at the Bank has shortened somewhat. Currently, 44 per cent of employees have spent less than five years at the Bank (Graph 23), compared with 39 per cent in 2003. The median tenure of employees is currently six years.

Employees eligible for retirement accounted for 12 per cent of exits during 2012/13 (Graph 24). The majority of employees leaving the Bank, however, do so before the age of 35, accounting for over half of total exits.



During 2012/13, the Bank's focus relating to disability was on recruitment, provision of training and support resources, and enhancing the accessibility of communication materials and tools.

The Bank renewed its membership of the Australian Network on Disability, to promote the inclusion of employees with disabilities. The Bank also participated in the ‘Stepping Into…’ Program during 2013. The program aims to provide university students with a disability with relevant workplace experience through a four-week paid internship. The Program will continue in the new financial year.

The Bank appointed two employees with a disability under the Federal Government's traineeship scheme, which assists those without post-secondary qualifications to enter the workforce and gain certification. An important aspect of the program is ensuring that the applicant pool includes individuals with disabilities.

During the reporting period, the Bank continued to offer training aimed at raising awareness on disability and mental health in the workplace. This included workshops on disability in the workplace and mental fitness workshops for employees and managers, along with lunchtime information seminars on various health topics. Mental health awareness was raised through the promotion of R U OK day, which aims to encourage conversations about resilience and suicide prevention. Mental health first aid certificate training was provided to selected employees. The Bank has continued to closely monitor the new Work Health and Safety legislation with respect to psychosocial hazards and has developed a guide for managers on workplace behaviours and workplace bullying.

The Bank consults with and supports employees with disabilities by ensuring reasonable adjustments and accessibility options are available. Opportunities for seeking assistance for employees with a disability were promoted within the Bank, including JobAccess, a government initiative designed to provide workplace assessments for assistive technology and, where appropriate, funding for employees with a disability.

A number of accessibility-related initiatives were pursued during 2012/13. These included:

  • updating online modules to better incorporate accessibility features
  • enhancing the online accessibility training module
  • reviewing the options for improving the process of requesting and purchasing assistive technologies
  • reviewing the systems project governance framework so that accessibility is considered in the early stages of projects
  • reviewing available software tools to assist in analysing the level of accessibility on websites
  • reviewing the Museum of Australian Currency Notes to identify areas of improvement for visitors with a vision impairment
  • ensuring the emergency procedures incorporate personal evacuation plans for employees with a disability.

A review of the Bank's external website was conducted in 2012 which resulted in the identification of legacy PDF documents that were not fully accessible. The work to create accessible HTML versions of the legacy PDF files is progressing towards meeting the requirements of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.


The proportion of employees who identified themselves as having a disability was 3 per cent as at June 2013 (Graph 25). However, there may be some under-reporting, to the extent that some employees are unwilling to declare a disability, and data are provided on a voluntary basis. Employees identifying with a disability represented 6 per cent of all exits in the reporting period.

Indigenous Australians


During 2012/13, the Bank's focus relating to Indigenous Australians was primarily on increasing the representation of employees from an Indigenous Australian background and promoting cultural awareness.

The Bank explored a number of avenues to increase the representation of people from an Indigenous Australian background, including:

  • advertising all external job vacancies on an Indigenous Australian job board and the traineeship program in the Koori Mail
  • highlighting opportunities for Indigenous applicants when advertising the cadetship program on graduate job boards
  • recruiting one Indigenous Australian trainee in 2013 (33 Indigenous Australian recruits have now participated in this training since the traineeship scheme commenced in 1991).

The government's Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme, which matched tutors with Indigenous university students, was promoted to employees as a means of raising cultural awareness and Indigenous community partnerships.

To raise employees' awareness on Indigenous Australian history and culture, a workshop was held during the reporting period. The workshop slides and an audio recording were made available to all employees on the intranet. In addition, a selection of the Bank's Indigenous artwork was displayed in the Museum of Australian Currency Notes during NAIDOC week celebrations in July. The Bank also hosted a Museum visit for 12 primary school children and their teachers from Willowra (Wirliyajarrayi), located 300 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.


Indigenous Australians continue to account for a small proportion of employees, at 0.6 per cent (Graph 26). This is lower than the representation in the Australian community and the broader Australian workforce. It is, however, comparable to the proportion of Indigenous Australians working in occupational groups similar to those at the Bank.



During 2012/13, the Bank's race-ethnicity focus was on creating a culture of inclusiveness through training and awareness-raising initiatives, including Harmony Day celebrations.

The Bank continued to offer English language and writing skills coaching for employees from a non-English speaking background. Mandarin training was offered to employees, including those engaged in analysis of Asian economies.


The proportion of Bank employees who identified themselves as having been born overseas from a non-English speaking background has steadily increased over the past decade, maintaining its highest level during the reporting period, at 25 per cent (Graph 27).

The representation of these employees at the Bank is significantly higher than their representation in the Australian community and is also higher than that of the Australian workforce. The largest group of employees born overseas from a non-English speaking background are from China, followed by the Philippines, India, Vietnam and Fiji. Employees born overseas from a non-English speaking background represented 20 per cent of all employee exits in this reporting period.