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New Zealand Diversity Survey delivers benchmark for Kiwi companies

Friday, Oct 23, 2015

Results from the October 2015 New Zealand Diversity report reveal flexibility, wellbeing and wellness in the workplace as top diversity issues for New Zealand organisations. Commissioned by EEO Trust, the research is carried out by a team from the New Zealand Work Research Institute at Auckland University of Auckland.   Three years on from commissioning the first New Zealand Diversity Survey, EEO Trust chief executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie says the biannual surveys are delivering important insights into the diversity issues that New Zealand organisations are facing. “One stand-out finding is the breadth of diversity issues that companies face. Wellbeing, flexibility, ageing, ethnicity, bias, gender, employment transition for younger staff, bullying and harassment, disability, sexuality, religion.” “Before we established the New Zealand Diversity Survey (NZDS) there was a real knowledge gap about diversity issues in New Zealand businesses. In terms of relevant, local benchmarks, they really didn’t exist – companies were either working with anecdotal evidence or it was a case of extrapolating data from research carried out in other countries,” says Cassidy-Mackenzie. “Now we’re building a much clearer picture of the diversity issues that matter most to NewZealand companies, where they have policies in place and where they need more support.” The October 2015 NZDS report reveals flexibility, wellbeing and wellness in the workplace, are important diversity issues for organisations of all sizes. Results from the latest survey, with more than 550 respondents, also show that large organisations are identifying a wider range of diversity issues as being important to them. The report notes that “aging, ethnicity, gender, bias, and bullying and harassment were of notably greater concern for large organisations than for small and medium organisations”. Looking at the results of each of the survey iterations since 2013, wellbeing, flexibility and ageing have been identified as the most important diversity issues for New Zealand businesses, regardless of their size. However, despite the number of respondents identifying an ageing workforce as one of the most important diversity issues for their business, only 13% have policy in place that relates to older workers and less than 30% have programmes in place. Results from each of the NZDS reports show that diversity policy and formal programmes are an area that is currently lacking in many New Zealand businesses. Less than half of respondents’ organisations have a formal policy in place to address each of the various diversity issues, with the exception of bullying and harassment, where 64% of respondents’ organisations have a formal policy in place. One notable change in the latest survey results – which could herald greater commitment to addressing these policy shortfalls in the future – was the increase in the perceived importance of different diversity issues. With the exception of ageing and religion, the percentage of respondents reporting each diversity issue as important increased by more than 5%. The diversity issues that saw the most significant increase in perceived importance were ethnicity (11.8% increase) and bias (10% increase).   The surveys are run in conjunction with the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce with research carried out by the New Zealand Work Research Institute at Auckland University of Technology. Since the surveys began in late 2013, the team have canvassed employers from businesses of all shapes and sizes across the country and have collated over 6000 responses. The full results for the latest New Zealand Diversity Survey are available on the EEO Trust website www.eeotrust.org.nz   Diversity issues important to New Zealand businesses (Percentage of New Zealand Diversity Survey respondents who identified the issue as important) Wellbeing/wellness (66%) Flexibility (59%) Ageing (47%) Ethnicity (37%) Bias – conscious and unconscious bias that can influence hiring decisions (37%) Gender (34%) Employment transition for younger staff (33%) Bullying & harassment (32%) Disability (19%) Sexuality (13%) Religion (9%) - New Zealand Diversity Survey, October 2015

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