Queensland businesses get a competitive edge with cultural diversity in global markets, according to business leaders who spoke at the Queensland Multicultural Month business lunch this month.
Australia is a vibrant, multicultural country, home to some of the world’s oldest cultures, with Australians who identify with more than 270 ancestries.
Since 1945, almost seven million people have migrated to Australia and cultural diversity is central to the nation’s identity.
Even with the Australia’s richness in diversity, migrants have found it difficult to find employment.
According to the Australians Human Rights Commission statistics, around one in three (35 percent), recent migrants said they faced hurdles in finding their first job, including:
64 percent reported a lack of Australian work experience or references;
33 percent experienced language difficulties;
23 percent reported a lack of local contacts or networks;
15 percent had difficulties having their skills or qualifications recognised.
This is set to change with Australian businesses opening their doors to a broader range of diversity and expanding their global influences.
Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Grace Grace hosted a lunch this month and said diversity clearly contributed to Queensland’s strong economy.
“Often in our dialogue around multiculturalism we talk about the need to focus on our similarities, but in the business sector, where most companies are looking for a competitive edge, I would argue that having a deep appreciation of cultural differences can also be an advantage,” Ms Grace said.
More than 200 business representatives gathered at the Brisbane launch to hear from guest speakers including Chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation, Peter Beattie, on the benefits of embracing diversity to reap financial and social rewards.
Mr Beattie spoke on the business opportunities surrounding the 2018 Commonwealth Games and said their diverse workforce was a key strength.
“Celebrating diversity starts right here at GOLDOC where we now have a team of more than 330 who hail from more than 14 countries,” Mr Beattie said.
“GC2018 is a great opportunity for us to showcase the destination, our ability to deliver great international events and leave a lasting legacy from a highly skilled workforce and volunteers.”
“It is also an important chance to demonstrate collaboration and to celebrate our multi-national communities and the wonderful experiences and alliances we have in Australia.”
Other speakers at the lunch included Nicole Bradley, National Diversity Leader for Grant Thornton, and the Commonwealth Bank’s economic analyst, Savanth Sebastian.
As long as business owners approach cultural diversity with respect, there is nothing to fear, and so much to gain.