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Employees from a non-English speaking background

The proportion of ongoing APS employees who identified as being from a non-English speaking background9 remained stable this year at 5.4%. Consistent with findings for other diversity groups, results from the employee census indicate that the representation of people from a non-English speaking background is likely to be higher at around 15%.

The largest group of employees from a non-English speaking background were born in southern and central Asia (20.6%), followed by south-east Asia (20.0%) and north-east Asia (16.5%). More information on employees from Asia is in Chapter 8. The most common region of birth for employees from a non-English speaking background outside of Asia was southern and eastern Europe at 12.7%.

Engagements and job attraction

People from a non-English speaking background constituted 4.6% of all engagements to the APS in 2012–13. This represents a sharp decline in absolute numbers from 572 engagements in 2011–12, to 350 engagements in 2012–13.

The employee census demonstrates the factors that attracted employees from a non-English speaking background to their current position were similar to factors attracting other employees, with the most important being type of work (74% of employees from a non-English speaking background compared with 77% of other APS employees). However, employees from a non-English speaking background were more likely than other employees to rate the opportunity to provide service to diversity groups as an important factor (38% compared with 23%). This is consistent with results for other diversity groups.

The employment experience

Results from the employee census indicate that the employment experience of people from a non-English speaking background is similar to other employees. Employees from a non-English speaking background show no significant differences in employee engagement compared with other APS employees. Additionally, they are as equally satisfied with workplace health and wellbeing and their work-life balance as other APS employees.

Employees from a non-English speaking background are much more likely to have graduate qualifications than other employees—at June 2013, 82.1% had a degree-level qualification, compared with the APS average of 59.5%. Employees from a non-English speaking background have a relatively high classification profile. Almost 40% are at the APS 5 to 6 classifications which could partly be a result of the high proportion of degree-level qualifications of this group.

Intention to leave and separations

In 2012–13, people from a non-English speaking background constituted 4.0% of all separations from the APS (Figure 5.6). In the past, engagements have consistently exceeded separations for this group.

Figure 5.6 Engagements and separations—employees from a non-English speaking background, 2004 to 2013

Source: APSED

Employees reported similar career intentions in the employee census regardless of their country of origin, with 16% of employees from a non-English speaking background and 19% of other APS employees intending to leave their current agency as soon as possible or within the next 12 months. This is a shift from last year's results which saw 18% and 22% respectively citing they wanted to leave their agency as soon as possible or within the next 12 months. The most frequently reported reasons given by employees from a non-English speaking background intending to leave their agency were:

  • lack of future career opportunities in the agency (54%)
  • senior leadership of poor quality (30%)
  • desire to try a different type of work or seek a career change (29%)
  • lack of recognition for doing a good job (23%).

    Footnotes

    9 People from non-English speaking background are defined as those who were born overseas and arrived in Australia after five years of age and whose first language was not English.