The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has today launched a toolkit calling on Australia’s small and medium businesses to capitalise on the social and economic benefits of making their STEM-skilled workforces more diverse and inclusive.
The Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit offers practical guidance for company CEOs and leaders to tackle shortages of people with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the workforce by embracing and making the most of the skills, knowledge and untapped potential represented by people from a range of cultural backgrounds, gender and sexual identities, and abilities.
ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said the Toolkit aims to help Australian STEM businesses recruit, retain and reach the diverse cohorts they need to address the widening skills gaps which threaten Australia’s economic potential.
“We know there are STEM-skilled people in Australia today who are not employing these skills, and Small to Medium Enterprises – SMEs – hold one of the keys to help tackle Australia’s STEM skills crisis,” she said.
“SMEs contribute over 57 per cent of Australia’s GDP and are responsible for creating almost 7 million jobs. Science- and technology-focused SMEs employ almost 80 per cent of the nation’s total scientific workforce.
“SMEs have on average fewer than five employees which means it is imperative that efforts towards diversity and inclusion be considered at every stage of the recruitment process to maintain a diverse workplace.
Many of these businesses are male led, with male dominated workforces. A lack of gender diversity is a known barrier to companies retaining women and other diverse talent: only 15% of STEM-qualified jobs are held by women. And statistics say that engineers and applied scientists from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are struggling to get appropriate work in Australia despite the skills shortage.
“This Toolkit is a practical response to supporting Australian STEM businesses to attract and retain the best talent, and to create vibrant, creative, high functioning and resilient workforces.“
“Understanding the many benefits of proactively supporting diversity and inclusion is a critical starting point towards respectful and inclusive workplaces”, said Kylie Walker.
Myriota, an Australian start-up company delivering a satellite-enabled global internet of things for uses in agriculture, water management and defence, has been using the Toolkit to grow their diversity and inclusion practices.
David Haley, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Myriota, said “ATSE’s Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit provides a concise one-stop shop that enables small and medium enterprises to set themselves up for success in commencing their D&I journey. It delivers the breadth and depth to help any startup embrace D&I and quickly benefit from a D&I driven culture.”
Alexandra Horvat, Communications Manager – Alexandra.email@example.com, 0458 892 825