2 in 3 Asian Australians face discrimination at work

Those aspiring to be leaders in their field often encounter racial stereotyping

2 in 3 Asian Australians face discrimination at work

Asian Australians comprise 12% of the population in Australia, yet they are “seriously under-represented” in senior leadership roles, according to Chin Tan, Australian Racial Discrimination Commissioner.

Only 3.1% of C-level positions across companies, universities, government and community organisations in the country are held by Asian Australians.

The findings form part of a study conducted by the Australian National University (ANU) on the barriers faced by the group.

READ MORE: Aussie workers facing more discrimination than Kiwi counterparts

More than four in five (82%) Australians of Asian descent reported experiencing discrimination, while nearly two-thirds claimed they encounter the same treatment specifically in the workplace.

Other places of discrimination include educational institutions (65%), government offices (58%) and public spaces such as shops and restaurants (71%) or sporting and community events (57%).

Similarly, 81% of Australians of Middle-Eastern descent are also discriminated against, the study found.

Breaking the ‘bamboo’ ceiling
Asian Australians who are aspiring to reach leadership positions in their organisations said they face discrimination (44%) as well as stereotypes associated with their ethnicity (42%).

“There’s more work to be done to address these findings,” said Professor Gareth Evans, chancellor of the ANU. “Ensuring cultural diversity in our business, professional and other organisational leadership needs to become a priority across our community.”

“There really is a bamboo ceiling in Australia and change will only come when we address the very real challenges faced by Asian-Australians.”

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