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A new tax incentive to drive diversity in Australia’s largest companies could powerfully shift the dial on equality in the country’s workforce – including its pivotal STEM sector.

In its submission to the Government’s Pathway to Diversity in STEM Draft Recommendations, Science & Technology Australia has urged bold thinking to tackle a lack of diversity in Australia’s workplaces.

The peak body proposes one powerful way to do this would be to broaden the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s remit to collect data from large employers on broader workforce diversity, then offer a tax incentive to those organisations that meet staff diversity thresholds.

“Giving Australia’s big employers a financial incentive to drive stronger staff diversity would be a powerful motivator to turbocharge equality in the country’s workforce,” said Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert.

“Strong progress is typically made when you focus minds and metrics in the C-suite. Incentivising the nation’s senior business leaders to drive diversity in their workforces can accelerate the pace of change.”

The Pathways to Diversity in STEM Review was set up to recommend how to deepen diversity in Australia’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics sector.

“The recommendations the expert panel make to Government in their final report could have a crucial impact across Australia’s entire workforce,” said Ms Schubert.

“The Prime Minister has called for a future “powered by science”. To achieve it, we’re going to need to call on diverse expertise and talent from across society. A strong focus on incentivising diversity in workplaces will mean our big employers are casting their net wider in the country’s talent pool.”

Read the full STA submission to the Pathways to Diversity in STEM Review draft here.

About Science & Technology Australia 
Science & Technology Australia is the nation’s peak body representing more than 115,000 scientists and technologists. We’re the leading policy voice on science and technology. Our flagship programs include Science Meets ParliamentSuperstars of STEM, and STA STEM Ambassadors

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