Workforce inclusion

The department is creating an inclusive working environment where equal opportunity and diversity are valued, and where the workforce reflects the communities we serve. The department’s commitment to deepening diversity and inclusion improves active participation, belonging and all people maintaining their uniqueness. Staff are valued and supported, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, abilities, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The department has several plans and strategies that support this including, its VPS People Strategy 2021–24, Disability Employment Plan 2019–22, Gender Equality Action Plan for 2022–25 and Aboriginal Employment Plan 2020–26.

Providing equal opportunity and echoing the voices of diverse staff and communities is important. The department values staff with non-binary gender identities at all levels, from VPS officers through to executives. The department acknowledges that, due to historical and current barriers to disclosure of non-binary gender identities, staff may not choose to disclose this information. As a result, targets or quotas are not currently a useful way to promote opportunities for gender‑diverse staff at all levels.

The following table outlines the department’s progress against current corporate workforce targets.

Department’s progress against employment inclusion targets

Workforce inclusion initiative


Progress as at

30 June 2022

Progress as at

30 June 2021

Gender profile at executive levels [1]

50% women

50% men

61.5% women

38.5% men

54.4% women

45.6% men

Aboriginal employment targets

2% who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples



Disability employment targets

12% by 2025



A diverse workforce provides a range of different skills, perspectives and experiences to inform the department’s work. As well as informing policy development, the department’s thriving staff networks provide support, advice and social connections for staff. These networks include the DET African Australian Network, the DET Enablers Network, the Koorie Staff Network, the DET Pride Network and the DET Women of Colour Network. Staff are also encouraged to participate in the sector‑wide VPS staff networks.

Key highlights of our diversity and inclusion work completed over the past year include:

  • making all respectful workplaces e-learning modules in the department mandatory staff training
  • supporting Aboriginal participation in a range of Barring Djinang programs. This included staff participation in the Career Development Program and Leadership Development Program, and new candidates in the Aboriginal Internship program, VPS graduate program – Aboriginal pathways and YES trainee program
  • establishing the DET Women of Colour Network and the DET African Australian Network
  • commencing the RISE program in the department in 2021 to promote neurodiversity in the workplace, through an alternative recruitment pathway for people with autism
  • launching the Gender Equality Action Plan in May 2022, which was developed following consultations with 15,000 staff
  • achieving a Silver employer award in the Australian Workplace Equality Index. This recognised the significant work undertaken to reduce barriers and promote inclusion for LGBTIQ+ staff at the department.

[1] The self-described category is nil for this entry.