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Victorian Government launches unconscious bias initiative in collaboration with the Centre for Ethical Leadership

The Centre for Ethical Leadership is collaborating with the Victorian Government on an Australian first, developing an unconscious bias policy that will create a fairer playing field to ensure those applying for work get the best opportunities, regardless of their background.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott today announced a pilot program to help counter potential bias during recruitment, and ensure employers get the best people for the job. The pilot will be implemented within public and private sector organisations. The Minister commented;

“This initiative is the first of its kind in Australia, and an important step towards equality of opportunity in our workforce. We want employers from across the public and private sector to sign up to creating a level playing field for all Victorians.”

Hiring bias, including unconscious bias, can unfairly deny many Victorians from receiving the same opportunities as colleagues of a different gender, culture and age. Previous research on unconscious bias, from the Centre for Ethical Leadership and other research institutions, has shown both the challenges faced by people from culturally diverse backgrounds, who with equivalent qualifications and experience often have to submit many more applications before they are offered an interview.

It has also demonstrated the benefits of well-managed cultural diversity in the workplace, creating greater productivity and innovation. Higher executive and board diversity in companies produced equity returns that were 53% higher and gross earnings that were 14% higher than those with low levels of diversity.

Led by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, a group of public and private sector representatives will:

  • develop an implementation plan to scope and define the pilot;
  • identify training requirements and other materials, and;
  • develop an evaluation tool to assess the outcomes of the pilot.

The initiative, and others aimed at reducing hiring bias across the state, will be developed in partnership with both the public and private sectors and includes:

  • Australian Industry Group
  • Australia Post
  • Ambulance Victoria
  • Australian Workers Union
  • Community and Public Sector Union
  • Centre for Ethical Leadership
  • Deloitte
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Department of Treasury and Finance
  • DOW Chemical Company
  • Ernst & Young
  • Hall & Wilcox
  • Law Insti1tute of Victoria 
  • Melbourne University
  • Price Waterhouse Coopers
  • Publicis Australia
  • Recruitment and Consultancy Services Association
  • The Shannon Company
  • Transport Accident Commission
  • United Energy and Multinet Gas
  • Victoria Police
  • VicRoads
  • Victorian Public Sector Commission
  • Victorian Trades Hall
  • Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
  • Westpac
  • WorkSafe 

To find out more about unconscious bias and how it may impact you or your organisation, contact us at info@cel.edu.au or on +61 3 9344 1406.