skip to navigation skip to content skip to footer


Defence Diversity & Inclusion Strategy

Our Strategic Goals for Diversity and Inclusion in Defence

To achieve our intent for diversity and inclusion in Defence, we must strive to realise the following five strategic goals to maximise and optimise on our people capability for now and into the future.

Goal 1

Goal 1: Defence is a flexible, adaptable and agile organisation that is able to accommodate the diverse needs of people as they move through various life and career stages.

Defence must become a more flexible, adaptable and inclusive organisation to attract and retain talent in a competitive environment.

It is necessary for Defence to understand and recognise the diversity of its current and future workforce and respond flexibly to the individual needs, life stages, culture and practice of its people. By implementing mechanisms and support structures that enable the retention and development of high-value personnel, Defence will benefit from maintaining a motivated, engaged and talented workforce.

Defence needs to understand the reasons for people exiting Defence during the recruitment process and at various points throughout their life and career. This understanding will enable Defence to build processes and policies that ensure greater through-career retention. Defence needs to remain engaged with high-value people who choose to leave Defence and afford them every opportunity to return to the organisation.

By being accommodating of people’s needs, Defence will continue to develop a positive and inclusive work environment that delivers commitments.


Defence will have achieved this goal when Defence has the workplace structures, systems and procedures in place to assist our people to effectively balance work with family, carer responsibilities, cultural obligations, and other commitments and interests in their lives; and Defence has the flexibility, adaptability and agility to support our people as they move through the various stages of life and career.


Goal 2

Goal 2: Defence utilises creative, targeted human resource solutions to achieve the numerous strategic capability benefits that diversity brings to all levels of the organisation.

Defence has a need to enhance capability through diversity and inclusion and can achieve this by being competitive for the best talent for a career in Defence and utilising this talent effectively. By implementing targeted human resource solutions, Defence has the opportunity to attract, recruit, retain, progress, and develop people from a broader range of diverse groups and to benefit from the energy, values, and perspectives that this broader talent pool can offer.

Defence will more deliberately identify and develop strategic partnerships in the wider Australian community, including with cultural, educational and sporting organisations, to engage and attract a diverse range of talent.

By embracing diversity and inclusion, Defence can ensure that they are able to employ people with the right skills in the right numbers at the right time by focusing on both the needs of Defence and the needs of employees from diverse backgrounds.

Defence can benefit immensely from utilising the diversity of our workforce and drawing strength from our diversity.


This goal will have been achieved when Defence has agency, human resource, and services and groups plans, including strategies to attract, recruit, develop, and retain our people, that champions the value in the diversity of our people and applies that diversity to its advantage by drawing on the skills and experiences of its people to achieve Defence objectives. Defence will be successful when it continues to have the People Capability to deliver on its objectives and commitments and meet Government requirements.

Goal 3

Goal 3: Defence recognises and understands that true inclusiveness does not mean treating everyone exactly the same way, all the time.

Every person in Defence should have an equal opportunity to contribute to the organisation. However having equal opportunity does not necessarily mean treating everyone the same at all times. People come with their individual circumstances,  life experiences, culture, and needs. As such, in some circumstances, people need to be treated differently to provide them with the same opportunities.

Defence needs to recognise individual differences, whatever they may be, and be considerate of accommodating those needs to enable all to contribute to the best of their abilities.

To be an inclusive employer, Defence will acknowledge the different characteristics each person has, and appreciate and value these as qualities that can enhance productivity and our capability.


To achieve this goal, Defence will have recognised the diversity of its people and applies flexible and supportive approaches to workplace conditions and career pathways to enable access to, and the full employment of, the skills and experiences of every member of its workforce. Defence will have fully applied the strategies and plans that support diversity and inclusion in the employment of its people.

Goal 4

Goal 4: Defence is viewed by all as an organisation committed to diversity and inclusion.

When diversity and inclusion are embraced by an organisation as an asset to enhance learning and effectiveness, performance is enhanced.1 The Diversity Council of Australia provides international evidence for increased productivity through diversity. Defence’s progress in harnessing diversity and inclusion to enhance capability will not only be measured by the increased representation of priority groups in our organisation, diversity will also be measured by the influence that the Defence culture allows these groups to have and by the extent to which Defence understands that diversity and inclusion is a resource for building effectiveness and capability. Enhancing capability through diversity will mean increasing the diversity and inclusion in Defence leadership as well as diversity and inclusion in its workforce overall.

When the diversity of Defence people reflects the broader Australian society, Defence will secure the trust and respect of the Australian community, Government, and the Defence workforce. When Defence is viewed as an organisation that is committed to diversity and inclusion, Defence will only benefit.

Defence will show their commitment to diversity and inclusion by:

  • Having leadership accountable for driving and promoting diversity and inclusion.
  • Challenging traditional models of recruitment, progression, development, and retention.
  • Incorporating diversity and inclusion into policies and practices where feasible.
  • Viewing diversity as an opportunity to build capability.
  • Being accountable and contributing to Government diversity initiatives.


Defence will achieve this goal when a career in Defence is considered by people from all parts of the Australian community, when Defence capitalises on diverse perspectives, views and attitudes of their workforce, and when Defence creates an environment where people can thrive and individual diversity is retained and valued.

  1. Cultural Diversity at Work: The Effects of Diversity Perspectives on Work Group Processes and Outcomes. Robin J Ely and David A. Thomas Harvard University June 2001.

Goal 5

Goal 5: Defence has strategies in place to support the employment of identified diverse groups that require immediate priority attention.

As an organisation, Defence does not accurately reflect the society from which it is drawn. In many regards, it lacks the perspectives and experiences of women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Harnessing all available leadership talent and ensuring a mix of skills, perspectives and experience is critical to increasing capability. Capitalising on diversity of thought and experience provides powerful leverage to problem solve more effectively, make sound decisions and to innovate.

Defence has identified the following diverse groups as requiring priority targeted attention for the period 2012-2017:

  • Women
  • Indigenous Australians
  • People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds
  • People with Disability
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people
  • Mature Age and an Intergenerational workforce
  • Youth

Women, Indigenous Australians, people with disability, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have been identified as groups requiring priority attention as they have been recognised as an under utilised group within Defence, either as having lower than desired workforce representation or workplace participation rates. People who identify as LGBTI, the mature aged, and young people have been identified as priorities as Defence has recognised that more can be done to support inclusion and enhance the employment and engagement of these groups.

To achieve this goal, Defence has identified objectives to address the employment needs of each of these identified priority groups.


This goal will be achieved when the key objectives have been realised; when the diversity of the Australian community is reflected in our strategies to attract, recruit, develop, retain, and transition our people; and when we have the required People Capability to deliver on our commitments.