Where’s the representation?

Our Managing Director – Matthew Jones – recently wrote an article for Dynamic Business about the under representation of Indigenous executives within Corporate Australia.

We’ve included a few key extracts:

A recent Minderoo Foundation report found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people hold less than one per cent of all executive and senior positions within Australia.

Indeed, this lack of representation and inclusion of Indigenous viewpoints at senior levels in the decision-making process probably contributed to the executive failure displayed by Rio Tinto with the destruction of Juukan Gorge in May 2020.

However, the Melbourne Business School calculated the Indigenous business sector at $4.88 Billion (AUD), which means that it is larger than Australia’s beer industry at $4.3 Billion. Given the size of the Indigenous economy, the underrepresentation of Indigenous Australians at senior levels is noteworthy.

However, in Australia, there are no legal requirements to enforce diversity at senior levels, rather, the Australian Stock Exchange has a guideline to “set measurable objectives for achieving gender diversity in the composition of its board, senior executives and workforce generally.”

It is important to note that this guideline does not include other minorities, which compares unfavourably with the United States which possesses a NASDAQ Board, Diversity Rule.

Three professions make up most of all board appointments and senior executives in Australia: lawyers, accountants, and engineers. While many boards are broadening the range of professional backgrounds considered for vacant roles, there is still a bias demonstrated by hiring panels towards engaging those with existing executive experience.

This tends to preclude the emergence of socially diverse directors and is another factor that impedes diversity of thought. Something that the Harvard Business School found to be critical in performing well in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous business environment.   

The remainder of the article can be accessed through the line below.

Indigenous business sector is thriving – But where’s the representation? (dynamicbusiness.com)