Is Australia's workforce doomed to be ruled by monocultural leaders?

New figures show boardrooms don't represent Australia's diverse population.

There are warnings a lack of cultural and linguistic diversity in Australia's top boardrooms can severely hinder company performances.

About 75 per cent of Australians are from Anglo-celtic or European backgrounds.

But figures from the Human Rights Commission show people of those same backgrounds account for 95 per cent of executives and 97 per cent of CEOs.

Now a University of Sydney report is showing a similar disparity in Australia's boardrooms. Researchers believe these findings are a first.

There are warnings a lack of cultural and linguistic diversity in Australia's top boardrooms can severely hinder company performances.
Source: SBS News

Researcher Dimitria Groutsis, from the University of Sydney, says they reveal the main barriers to diversity in boards include a preference for what they're calling 'Western' leadership.

"Many of our culturally diverse board members who participated in the research indicated that they needed to change to fit in with the (existing) board culture," he said.

Trailblazers, such as Adelaide's Nadia Moffat, are breaking those barriers.

Suffering two brain haemorrhages as a child and told she'd never walk, let alone work, she is the child of Italian migrants and now sits on the board of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

"I would really be excited to see the ASX take diversity seriously, and lead by example. Because I think they would be amazed by how enriched the organisations could become. And I think leadership has to be set by example," she said.


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Published 30 July 2018 at 8:07pm
By Charlotte Lam