Go to top of page

Diversity and Inclusion

Workforce Overview & Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)

SBS actively recruits and employs people from diverse backgrounds. Employees are invited to share diversity-related statistical information upon commencement of employment. This information is securely stored on SBS’s payroll records.

SBS believes in developing a diverse workforce and this is reflected in its recruitment processes, leadership development, culture programs and employee engagement surveys.

These processes ensure appropriate action is taken to eliminate discrimination against, and promote equal opportunity for, women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, individuals from non-English speaking backgrounds, and people who have a permanent disability, in relation to employment matters in accordance with the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987.

As at 30 June 2020, 41.6 per cent of employees are from a non-English speaking background and 37.5 per cent were born overseas.

At 30 June 2020, the SBS Executive Team, including the Managing Director, was 53.8 per cent female and 46.2 per cent male. The Senior Leadership Group1 has a total of 86 members, with 52.9 per cent female and 47.1 per cent male representation.

In addition, 51.7 per cent of employees are female, with 50.3 per cent of SBS people leaders2 being female. A further 3.4 per cent of staff identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander whilst 1.7 per cent of employees and 2.3% of managers identify as having a permanent disability within SBS payroll records.

Number of employees[1]

Percentage of Total Workforce[2]

Percentage of SBS Board[3] (8)

Percentage of Senior Leaders[4] (86)

Percentage of People Managers (352)

Language Spoken at Home







Language other than English






Not Stated












Place of Birth













Not Stated





































Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander[5]






Permanent Disability






Note: Data as at 30 June, 2020.

[1] Number of employees figure is the total number of employee headcount not FTE.

[2] *Represents employees who voluntarily disclosed information.

[3] The Managing Director has been included in both the “Percentage of SBS Board” and “Percentage of Senior Leaders” columns.

[4] Senior Leaders are defined as the Executive team and their direct reports.

[5] Casuals not included in this figure in line with SBS’s RAP reporting.

Diversity & Inclusion Survey

SBS recognises that there are a variety of reasons why employees may choose not to share personal non-compulsory data with their employer. This is particularly true for individuals with a disability, for members of the LGBTIQ+ community, for those with non-binary gender identities or those with an intersex variation. For this reason, SBS also collects diversity data through the annual Diversity & Inclusion Survey. This data is collected anonymously and is not attached to individual employee records This survey was last conducted in October 2019 and attracted 736 responses.

In this survey:

  • 4% of respondents, 6.5% of senior leaders and 3.8% of managers identified as having a disability
  • 5.6% of respondents, 5.2% of senior leaders and 5% of managers identified as having a chronic condition requiring adjustments in the workplace.
  • 12.6% of respondents, 15.8% of senior leaders and 12.4% of managers identified as members of the LGBTIQ+ community
  • 1.8% of respondents identified as having an intersex variation
  • 0.7% of respondents identified as having a non-binary gender identity

The data collected by this survey informs the work of the SBS Inclusion Council in continuing to make SBS an inclusive and accessible workplace for all.

SBS Inclusion Strategy

SBS launched its Inclusion Strategy in July 2018, with a focus on providing employment programs, policies and practices that drive greater inclusion in the workplace. SBS is further strengthening and building on its Inclusion Strategy, to improve representation of people from diverse backgrounds at all levels of the organisation and ensuring SBS's organisational processes and procedures do not present barriers to inclusion.

New policies in 2019-20

In 2019-2020, SBS introduced a policy of paid superannuation on unpaid parental leave. This policy was introduced in recognition of the 42 per cent superannuation pay gap that exists nationally between male and female savings on retirement. Whilst there are multiple factors contributing to this gap, women are more likely than men to take periods of time off work for carer and parenting responsibilities, resulting in lower superannuation contributions and associated compounding growth over their working lives. This policy seeks to rectify one of the significant causal factors behind the national superannuation pay gap.

SBS also introduced a new Family & Domestic Violence Policy, outlining both internal and external support available for employees who may be experiencing Family & Domestic Violence including paid and unpaid leave provisions and where to go for assistance and support.

Career Trackers

In 2019-20, SBS welcomed back two interns under the Career Trackers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander internship program for their second summer placement within SBS’s Marketing and Technology functions. SBS also welcomed two new interns for their first summer placement, taking up roles within the Corporate Communications and SBS On Demand teams.

The BlackCard

2019-20 also saw the launch of SBS’s Cultural Capability program in partnership with Aboriginal owned and operated organisation, The BlackCard. The program delivers

cultural capability immersions to SBS staff. These immersive workshops take place over the course of a full day and cover a variety of topics including Aboriginal Terms of Reference, rationality and logic within Aboriginal culture, understanding acknowledgement and Welcome To Country, deep dive into country, identity, governance and elders, family and community. The intention of the immersive sessions is to generate a greater appreciation for Aboriginal culture and to utilise those learnings to strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers, partners, team members and colleagues.

Disability Action Plan

Working with the Australian Network on Disability, SBS has continued to build and implement a Disability Action Plan that aims to improve access to employment opportunities and increase representation of people with disabilities in the workplace.

In 2019-20, SBS has worked to develop the following elements of that plan:

  • Conducted an end-to-end recruitment process review and developed a recruitment and selection action plan. This plan includes adjustments to job advertisement texts, the accessibility of position descriptions and proactively informing candidates of how they can request a reasonable adjustment.
  • Conducted a premises review of the SBS Melbourne and Sydney offices and developed a facilities action plan.
  • Development of a comprehensive reasonable workplace adjustments policy and procedure which more easily enables employees to identify barriers to inclusion for people with disabilities and outlines a simple process to request the removal of those barriers.
  • Development of a passport system, so that employees who have adjustment requirements to their workspace can take those adjustments with them if they move about the building, without having to go through the process of requesting an adjustment each time they change desks.
  • Implemented AI-powered voice recognition software to enable live captioning of SBS internal events.

Gender Equity Pay Review

In November 2019 SBS conducted a comprehensive gender pay equity analysis which looked at pay equity in terms of like-for-like work and organisational averages. SBS has also undertaken to conduct this review annually as part of its regular salary review process. The organisational average was calculated as the difference between the average male and the average female earnings, expressed as a percentage of the average male earnings. This is the methodology used and recommended by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). For the purposes of the review, SBS considered ‘earnings’ to be inclusive of both superannuation and performance-related pay.

The results of the analysis in November 2019 demonstrated that SBS had a total remuneration gender pay gap of 11.2 per cent, which had further improved to 9.9 per cent by June 2020. This compares with the national total remuneration pay gap of 20.8 per cent and the telecommunications and media sector average of 20.6 per cent.

In addition, the review identified that there were more women than men at the junior pay bands of the organisation and more men than women at the highest pay bands. These two forces contribute to the overall pay gap when looking at salary averages. The lack of balance within the most senior pay bands is primarily driven by senior technology roles which attract high market rates and are under-represented by women both at SBS and in the market.

SBS is committed to addressing this gap over time and has identified a number of initiatives designed to bring balance at all levels. These include:

  • A bespoke ‘Women in STEM’ program to support development of talent in technology roles
  • Gender balanced interview panels
  • Gender balanced candidate short-lists
  • Detail succession plans with gender balanced talent pipelines
  • Enhanced flexibility options for employees
  • Implementation of The Grace Papers to support parents in balancing work and parenting
  • Paid superannuation on unpaid parental leave
  • New clause within the SBS Enterprise Agreement 2019 enabling employees to request a salary review on return from parental leave

SBS does not currently have any like-for-like gender pay gaps and will continue to review all roles and salaries by gender on an annual basis.

Australian Workplace Equality Index

SBS is a proud member of Pride in Diversity and participates in the annual Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) which is the definitive national benchmark on LGBTIQ+ inclusion in the workplace. In the first year of participation in 2019, SBS scored the second highest ranking for a first year organisation in the history of the AWEI and in 2020 SBS achieved a gold tier rating demonstrating its outstanding and ongoing commitment to LGBTIQ+ inclusion in the workplace.

Alongside these specific initiatives, SBS has established Employee Advisory Groups including SBS Pride and Allies focused on LGBTIQ+ inclusion, The Network which addresses gender equity, SBS Access which considers the experiences of employees living with disabilities and SBS Multi bringing together culturally, religiously and linguistically diverse SBS team members.

Managing the impacts of COVID-19 on employees

SBS was significantly impacted by the pandemic with many employees working from offsite locations and a range of protective measures implemented for those required to work on-site to continue the delivery of essential services to Australians.

SBS’s guiding principle in its approach to COVID-19 is the safety and physical and mental wellbeing of its employees.

SBS offices incorporated rigorous physical distancing and hygiene measures to minimise risk to employees who work on premise. At the same time, a significant portion of the workforce has transitioned to working from home arrangements – 55 per cent of the workforce was working regularly from home between March and June 2020. Substantial support has also been provided to protect the mental health and wellbeing of employees working from home. The ongoing risk to newsgatherers, ALC broadcasters and frontline helpdesk and corporate services staff vital to SBS’s ability to continue its critical services for communities, continues to be closely monitored and actively managed.

In a May 2020 employee survey, 91 per cent of SBS employees felt confident that SBS had taken effective action to protect critical operations, 88 per cent of employees felt confident that SBS had taken effective action to protect the safety and wellbeing of employees, and 93 per cent felt informed about the SBS response to the pandemic.

SBS has developed and actively consulted with employees on a SBS COVIDSafe at Work Roadmap which outlines SBS's guiding principles, the role that SBS and its employees play in keeping one another safe, and how and when SBS will gradually roll out a broader return to employees working on site.

Workplace Health and Safety

SBS is committed to fostering a positive safety culture and to ensuring the health and safety of all employees, contractors, and members of the public who may be affected by its work.

As part of SBS’s proactive approach to the safety governance framework, SBS conducted its annual WHS Audit Program from August 2019 across key divisions. In 2019 the WHS audit tool was revised to align the criteria for auditing to ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. SBS Directorates achieved an average WHS Audit score of 89 per cent, an increase from the 2018 score of 85 per cent.

Ergonomic review programs continue to proactively identify and address hazards associated with agile workspaces. This approach was further supplemented with work from home checklists and guidance as more staff worked from home during the COVID-19 period.

In March 2020, SBS notified the regulator of one instance where a staff member was a confirmed COVID-19 case. The regulator investigation closed without any further request for workplace action. Injury and illness reporting numbers remain consistent, with the business continuing to encourage proactive reporting. SBS had a second positive case in late June from the Melbourne office. Again, SBS worked closely with the Victorian health authorities to ensure public health orders were complied with whilst maintaining the integrity of operations.

The SBS early intervention program continues to deliver outstanding results with a substantial reduction in work-related claims costs. In the financial year 2019-20 SBS has had just one new workers’ compensation claim lodged.

In 2019-20, SBS successfully transitioned to its new Employee Assistance Program provider - Converge International. This provider has offered a suite of support options for staff including post incident response, and manager assist services. SBS has supported the training of 60 staff in Mental health First Aid, as additional resources and support across Sydney. Melbourne and Canberra offices. They also provided a valued service during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic including a proactive outreach to people leaders in support of the teams they lead.


  1. [No footnote provided]
  2. [No footnote provided]