Introduction to Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion

What is diversity and inclusion?

Diversity is the seen and unseen characteristics which make each of us different. When applied to the workforce, this means reflecting the breadth of difference that exists within the NSW community.

But diversity alone isn’t enough to sustain a successful workforce. To reap the benefits of a diverse workforce, you need to be able to leverage people’s differences and make them feel comfortable in sharing their unique perspectives. We need both diversity and inclusion to achieve success.

When asked, NSW employees found it more challenging to explain what inclusion means. Many employees told us that they understood inclusion in terms of the feelings it evoked.

For the majority of employees, inclusion is the act of enabling genuine participation and contribution, regardless of seen and unseen characteristics, which results in employees feeling safe to bring their whole selves to work.

In summary inclusion is understood as:

'Positive actions' combined with 'Feeling safe to contribute' results in 'genuine contribution and participation by all'

Why diversity and inclusion matters

The strength of any workforce comes from its diversity and benefiting from that diversity to deliver better services. Put simply, we deliver greater benefits for the NSW public when our workforce is diverse.

Our research and consultation with NSW public sector employees found that the opportunities for diversity and inclusion in our workforce are multi-faceted and range from sharing diverse perspectives in the workplace, to having a workforce that reflects the diverse communities of NSW. Building an inclusive workforce leverages this diversity successfully and leads to improved services to citizens.  

Diversity and inclusion in the NSW public sector

Our goal in the NSW public sector is to attract and retain the right people for the right jobs, no matter what their gender, race, age, religious beliefs, or personal commitments. This means that we are embedding diversity and inclusion in everything we do on a daily basis, whether it be our recruitment processes, workplace culture, career development programs, customer service or policies and procedures.

By embracing people from all walks of life within our community, we’re building a strong, motivated and dynamic workforce that’s reflective of the diversity of our State. This gives us a deeper understanding of the communities we serve and allows us to deliver better outcomes for the people of NSW through our wide range of expertise, perspectives and innovative ideas.

In the NSW public sector, we’re in a unique position as the largest employer in Australia. We have a workforce of around 400,000 employees, which represents around one in 10 people in NSW.

By building the diversity and inclusion of the NSW public sector workforce, we’re able to contribute to the NSW Government’s agenda, which includes:

  • Gender equity
  • Improving the economic prosperity of Aboriginal peoples
  • Increasing workforce participation of people with disability and older workers
  • Better utilising the skills that come from cultural diversity

Building a diverse and inclusive workforce

Building a diverse and inclusive workforce is something we want all employees within the NSW public sector to value and support.

Public sector diversity is one of the Premier’s Priorities.

We have strategies in place to build a diverse and inclusive workforce, and are regularly reviewing them to make sure we’re effectively adapting to the changing needs of our workforce and the wider community we serve.

Our initiatives

We’re working to build a diverse and inclusive workforce that’s truly reflective of the diversity of NSW. To do this, we’re focusing our efforts to promote:

Employee Networks

By supporting Employee Networks, employer agencies can demonstrate a commitment to building a supportive and inclusive workplace culture and leverage the diversity of their workforce.  Our Employee Network Guidelines provide a step by step approach to establishing and operating employee networks and case studies highlight leading practice across the NSW public sector and private sector.