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Cultivating diversity and inclusion within a company is no longer a nicety – it is a necessity. Diversity is known to increase innovation, engagement and productivity within companies, and now, companies have a responsibility to take substantive action that results in tangible and lived values that empower all cultures and demographics; this means not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.
The Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment state that STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs have the highest employment and job growth in the Australian workforce. Yet, today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples remain exceedingly underrepresented in these industries; none more so than in tech. This begins from an early stage, with only 43 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children graduating high school with one STEM subject. This literacy and numeracy gap, alongside other systemic factors, leads to the lack of opportunity for economic participation within the tech workforce for First Nations peoples.
Australian tech companies need to hold themselves accountable for the commitments they have towards a fair and equal workplace; one that recognises and incorporates fair representation of the traditional custodians of the land they work on. This should be done through tangible actions, such as fostering awareness and cultural competency within their company network, creating employment and pathways, increasing the representation of First Nations peoples in senior roles, and more. In this event, we will highlight the steps Australian companies need to take to embrace First Nations culture and knowledge and to incorporate these values into the way they run their business.
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