Women of Colour Australia workplace survey report 2021

by Women of Colour Australia, in partnership with Dr Catherine Archer | 2021 | Research Publication
A report on the experiences of women of colour in the Australian workforce, and ways to improve this



This landmark survey collects the experiences of diverse women of colour in Australian workplaces.

A total of 543 women of colour completed the survey, with 7% identifying as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Most respondents (70%) were between 25 and 34 and 70% worked full-time. Questions were not mandatory, so some questions had fewer answers than others. The women reported being employed in more than 250 different roles, and those who did not identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander had heritage from more than 60 different nations.

Most of the women who responded had experienced discrimination in the workplace (60%) while 40% had not. While 30% believed their identity as a woman of colour was valued in the workplace, 43 % did not, and the remainder answered “maybe”.

Most respondents (57%) felt they had faced challenges in the workplace related to their identity as a woman of colour, while 21% did not believe so and the remainder were unsure (answered ‘maybe’). While 59 % said their workplace had a diversity and inclusion policy, 22% said it did not, and the remainder were unsure.

The majority of respondents (57.61%) said the leader of their organisation was a man, not a person of colour, followed by a woman, not a person of colour, (25.63%) with just over 2% saying they were the organisation’s leader and 6.58% saying the leader was a woman of colour.

Many of the women responding named ‘mentoring’ as a key need for future development in their careers, and other suggestions included networking, counselling, and structural change.