A report by the Diversity Council of Australia has questioned Australian businesses’ ability to capitalise on the so-called Asian Century.
The DCA’s report, Cracking the Cultural Ceiling: Future Proofing Your Business in the Asian Century, surveyed 300-plus leaders and emerging leaders of Asian backgrounds from over 100 Australian organisations.
The council’s Lisa Annese told Radio Australia that “Asian capability” was lacking.
"The irony that our research revealed was that you are more likely to get a job where Asian capability is required if you are non-Asian, but have had some expat experience in Asia or have studied Asian studies, such is the degree of exclusion from the leadership model," she told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific program.
She said that those of Asian identity performed outstandingly at high school and university, were well represented as graduates in business, but then only made up only 1.9 per cent of executives in the ASX200.
The research included findings that 9.3 per cent of Australian workers were Asian born, and these made up 4.9 per cent of positions at a senior executive level.
The Australian Industry Group’s Innes Willox has also cited a lack of experience in Asia among Australian executives as a major impediment for companies wanting to engage with the region.
Another problem was a lack of interest among Australian students in learning an Asian language.
“And if that’s where our future is, to push out into that region, then we need to develop those skills,” he told an event last year.