b'PEOPLE| LEGAL SECTOR| 2021SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHTDIVERSITY AND INCLUSIONChallenges and OpportunitiesEven as the cultural diversity of the Australian population increases, government, corporates, and law firms remain disproportionally represented by CEOs and Partners from Anglo-Celtic backgrounds. For example, the last Australian census showed that ten percent of Australians had an Asian background, but a 2015 survey by the Asian Australian Lawyers Association of six large firms and forty-four medium firms found that none had Asian Australian Partners, and where they were present, they made up only three percent of Partners across all firms. A recent survey of 11 of Australias biggest law firms which polled 5,000 staff from across Australia, found that while 20 per cent of non-partner lawyers and 25 per cent of law graduates were of an Asian background, just 8 per cent of partners were Asian. The results on Indigenous representation were even more startling, with less than 1 per cent of those polled identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.Leadership needs to develop a deep and sincere understanding the issues that affect cultural diversity and inclusion. They then need to set clear expectations and provide consistent reward and recognition to role models who demonstrate leading behaviours. This leadership role needs to progress into mentoring and coaching others. Mentoring programs can be developed that include peer to peer mentoring from the grassroots all the way to up senior management.Unconscious bias and strong roles models need to be addressed in firms recruitment and promotions processes. Traditional approaches can favour those from dominant gender, racial social and cultural backgrounds which perpetuates existing diversity imbalances. Blind recruitment is growing in popularity to address unconscious bias. In blind recruitment at least part of the assessments are done without identifying elements from candidates applications such as name, gender, school or address. Only twenty-five percent of law firms in the 2016 Acritas Diversity study were rated as very diverse. While we can currently measure activity in diversity programs, ongoing progress in this space is needed to keep pace with the diversity that exists in the wider Australian community.The Diversity Council of Australia suggests in Building Inclusion: An Evidence-Based Model Of Inclusive Leadership that while the Australian workforce is very diverse by world standard, the real challenge for workplaces and managers is to improve the inclusion of diverse individuals and groups and provide a set of key skills that are required to manage and lead an inclusive workplace.Australian Human Rights Commission Leading for Change guidelines identify three clear priorities that law firms should include in their strategies to generate changes in diversity:Leadership and investmentMeasuring and reportingA culture of identifying and confronting biases.32'