Racism rife in Aussie workplaces

by 24 Jan 2012

A new survey of Australian IT and Finance workers has revealed that a majority of employees feel racist attitudes remain prevalent in the workplace, and continue to play a role in hiring decisions.

The study by Balance Recruitment canvassed the opinions of almost 1,000 workers, and showed some 72% believe racism exists in their industry, and a further 30% have experienced racism first hand in their workplace.

Joint managing director Balance Recruitment Simon Hogg said their firm had been forced to walk away from contracts with companies who specified certain nationalities within their recruitment criteria. “One, it’s illegal, two, it’s immoral, and three, its poor business” Hogg said. He added that the prejudiced hiring criterion was ill-advised as “these companies often end up excluding the best candidate for a position.”

Of those surveyed, 28% felt racism wasn’t an issue when it came to hiring and 8% said they believe ethnic stereotyping is warranted.

Former race discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes said despite assurances from government that Australia is a tolerant society, racism is more prevalent in workplaces than many think.

“Unfortunately, there are definitely people in Australia who make employment decisions on a racist bias,” Innes said.

Diversity Council of Australia (DCA) CEO Nareen Young said racism is an issue which employers need to urgently address, and said previous DCA research has shown that employers need to urgently improve their responses to workplace racism.

Research released by DCA included the following key findings:

  • Approximately 10% of Australian employees had experienced racial harassment or discrimination in their workplace in the previous twelve months.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were six times more likely to report having felt discriminated at work because of their cultural background.
  • Men were significantly more likely to feel they had been discriminated against because of their cultural background (5% v 3%) or racially harassed (9% v 6%). 
  • Non-Australian born respondents were significantly more likely to report being discriminated against on the basis of cultural background, as well as being racially harassed.
  • Racial harassment (9% had experienced an incident in the previous twelve months) was more common than sexual harassment (6%).


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  • by Job Seeker 1/02/2014 1:46:07 PM

    Yes... recruitment agencies do not even forward the resume based on ethnic background. I am feeling the pinch even I have a good overseas and local experience. But still i have t struggle to get a decent job. But in case of others like Aussies, British, they go thru easily when it comes to jobs.

  • by IT Employee (Locally educated) 25/05/2016 5:48:08 PM

    Yes. Significant underhanded discrimination based on ethnic background.

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