Recommendations made to increase diversity in Australia’s STEM industries


Recommendations to drive diversity and inclusion of people underrepresented in STEM education and jobs are outlined in the Federal Government’s Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review report.

Published by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, the review found that “stronger leadership and coordination is essential to drive faster and more ambitious progress. There are many initiatives to increase diversity in STEM, but no central point to bring these together, identify gaps, and measure and share what works.”

The report contains 11 detailed recommendations to create structural and cultural change to increase the diversity of Australia’s STEM system, noting that “industry, governments, the education sector, not-for-profits and individuals all have a role to play.”

Nine of the recommendations are focused on changes the Federal Government should implement, while the remaining two are targeted at private organisations. These include:

  • Every Australian organisation employing STEM workers committing to the elimination of bullying, harassment and discrimination, including racism; and
  • Every Australian organisation employing STEM workers adopting, making public and implementing a plan to increase attraction, retention and promotion of underrepresented cohorts.

The panellists noted in the report, “The recommendations in this report reflect the urgency of supporting and retaining diverse people in our existing STEM workforce. We cannot afford to lose anyone. We must harness the potential of all people with a curious mind, a spark for problem-solving and a keenness to build up and change our world.”

The report states, “Organisations can fill immediate STEM workforce needs by drawing on people with diverse and valuable STEM skills and experience. This includes migrants with overseas STEM qualifications, people who are VET qualified, and First Nations people with STEM knowledge and experience. Industry also has a role to play in widening pathways to STEM opportunities and re-skilling their existing workforce with STEM competencies.”

The report includes an approach to develop a strategic suite of programmes that go beyond gender equity. This includes changes to the current suite of Women in STEM programs in the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

“The advisory council should have a role in designing, implementing and evolving these programs. It will ensure that programs are effective, fill genuine gaps and do not duplicate existing initiatives,” the report notes.

AusBiotech is committed to diversity and inclusion; its commitment follows four principles, and encourages industry to follow them too. Diversity in all aspects of business operations optimises the continued growth and success of the life sciences industry.

Read the Pathway to Diversity in STEM Review here.