Equal employment opportunity (EEO) is about equality in the workplace. It is a human right to be treated fairly at every point of the employment process whether it is at pre-employment, promotion pathways or remuneration. The workplace is a critical entry point for New Zealanders from diverse backgrounds and therefore an essential place to ensure human rights are upheld. The resulting diversity brings significant benefits for all – employees, citizens, consumers and businesses.
In the course of monitoring progress in the representation of marginalised groups in employment (EEO groups), we (the Human Rights Commission) have observed that publication of EEO data alone does not necessarily drive change. Collection of data is invaluable in identifying the possibility of discrimination in employment and monitoring progress when measures are developed and implemented to address discrimination. Data collection alone, without analysis and a commitment to improving equality, is an empty gesture.
We requested each government department to provide us with information about staff metrics so we could calculate the representation of the four EEO groups across each department and in senior management teams. We also asked for the average (mean) and median pay for each of the groups. Our purpose was to identify departments whose metrics suggested better practice. Staff from different levels in the five exemplar departments, were interviewed to get an understanding about what made the difference. By sharing these insights the Commission seeks to provide advice and facilitate sharing ideas about what departments can do to improve their EEO outcomes.