Mana Taurite, Kanorau, me te Whakauruuru | Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Equity, diversity and inclusion are important to create and sustain a fit-for-purpose research system. We need a system which has no barriers to entry, retention or advancement for women, Māori, Pacific Peoples and other under-represented communities.

We want a system where these groups hold jobs proportional to their population share across institutions, role types and research areas.

We asked RSI organisations what they do to support equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in their workplace, to support Māori and Pacific employees, and to grow their Māori cultural capability. Many organisations – mostly CRIs, universities and independent research organisations – indicated they have policies and programmes to support EDI, Māori and women in the workplace. However, fewer outlined specific support for Pacific Peoples in the workplace.

Several RSI organisations recognised the need to have a diverse workforce and to create sustainable pathways for individuals to progress through the system. However, they also noted difficulties hiring Māori and Pacific Peoples due to their under-representation in PhD student cohorts and low representation in the workforce generally.

For an employee perspective of organisational EDI policies, please see pages 28-36 of the report on the RSI Workforce Survey of Individuals. The findings from both surveys are not aligned. There seems to be a clear disconnect with how many organisations outlined that they are supporting EDI in the Survey of Organisations and the much lower proportion of respondents to the Survey of Individuals who said their organisation had EDI policies and supported Māori, Pacific Peoples, and women.

Te whakapai ake i te whakakanohitanga o ngā rōpū i te ohu mahi RSI kua mahue ki te taha | Improving representation of marginalised groups in the RSI workforce

Many organisations indicated they have policies and programmes in place to improve EDI in their workforce. In particular, CRIs, universities and IROs have developed strategies and initiatives to support and improve representation of Māori, Pacific Peoples and women.

Almost all organisations claimed they are committed to providing equality of opportunity for their staff no matter their identity or background, value diversity and promote a culture of inclusion. Some commonly mentioned examples were equal employment opportunity (EEO) and open hiring policies, staff programmes to support Māori capability, Māori and Pacific support and engagement policies; rainbow tick training, and pay equity practices.

For business respondents that do not have specific programmes in place to support diversity and inclusion, they claim that they are an “equal opportunities employer” and hire people based on ability rather than race, gender or ethnicity. 

However, we heard through the Workforce Survey of Individuals that 42% of total respondents were unsure whether their organisation has a formal diversity and inclusion policy. This indicates that there may be issues with the reach and impact of organisations’ EDI policies.

Respondents to the Survey of Individuals also told us that a key opportunity to provide better support to Pacific Peoples and Māori was to focus more on recruiting each group into the sector. Some Māori and Pacific respondents value hiring that specifically seeks out Māori and Pacific peoples. However, in their responses to the Survey of Organisations, some organisations claim not to consider race, ethnicity or gender in their hiring decisions.

Te tautoko me te whakatipu i te āheinga ā-ahurea | Supporting and growing Māori cultural capability

We know from the workforce characteristics outlined above that Māori are underrepresented in the RSI sector.

When asked about what they do to support and grow Māori cultural capability, organisations outlined different types of policies, programmes and/or initiatives that address different reasons for why Māori are underrepresented in the RSI sector, including:

  • Māori are not able to progress sufficiently far through the tertiary education system to a point where they can subsequently embark on a research career
  • Māori cannot access or are not attracted to meaningful and sustainable RSI careers after reaching the required level of tertiary education to embark on a research career
  • Māori cannot access viable pathways into research careers across a range of research areas.

Therefore, respondent organisations outlined a range of policies, programmes and/or initiatives to overcome these different drivers of Māori underrepresentation.

Engage with students to increase the number of Māori scientists and researchers both now and in the future. This includes through summer programmes that provide Māori students with opportunities to work and learn in an area of science, sometimes with mentoring and leadership support. Other organisations also recruit Māori graduates to retain them in STEMM.

“ESR is striving to be an employer of choice for Māori scientists and professionals. Through our investment in and support of the Pūhoro [STEMM] academy, we have an internship programme to attract young Māori science students to grow and advance Māori science leadership and capability.” – CRI

Establish dedicated roles and leadership positions whose core responsibilities are developing, reinvigorating or strengthening cultural capability and capacity of their organisation and enabling staff to engage with hapū, iwi, Māori communities and Māori businesses with confidence. Please see the “Mātauranga Māori, Māori Aspirations and Te Tiriti” section on page 33 for relevant examples.

Form dedicated teams or employee networks. Some organisations have formed teams to progress their Māori strategies, lead events and activities, or create a support network.

“PFR has a Māori Strategy and Engagement team, supported by a network of Māori staff Te Raranga Ahumara Network to progress key Maori events and activities that contribute to Tono.” – CRI

“A network of Māori academic staff, that contributes towards creating a culturally stimulating environment for Māori academics at Otago...” – University

Build tools to enable employees to improve their cultural capabilities. Different tools and mechanisms have been developed and/or introduced by respondents to build their Māori cultural capability and capacity.

“Taihoro Nukurangi – NIWA cultural intelligence app…[includes] information on te reo Māori (the Māori language), tikanga (customs), mātāpono me ngā ūaratanga (principles and values), pronunciation of Māori words, maps with Māori names and iwi groups, mihimihi / pēpeha (introductions), waiata (songs) etc.” – CRI

“Free online resources to increase everyday use of Te Reo.” – Business

The focus on Māori in EDI policies may align with the results in the Workforce Survey of Individuals, where 57% (n=39) of Māori respondents agreed that their organisation is committed to improving staff diversity, compared to 49% (n=702) of total respondents.

Te tautoko me te whakanui ake i te whakakanohitanga o ngā Tāngata Moananui-a-Kiwa | Supporting and improving representation of Pacific Peoples

While most support programmes and actions are focussed on Māori, far fewer organisations (mostly universities) have specified support that extends to or is focussed on Pacific Peoples, which could be explained by the small number of Pacific researchers in the sector (see workforce characteristics outlined earlier in the report on pages 9-16).

Some of the specific support programmes and actions focussed on supporting Pacific Peoples are:

  • developing pathways of success for Pacific learners, staff, families and communities, including opportunities in research before employment and improving Pacific staff recruitment, development and retention
  • forming Pacific staff teams to mentor, lead and support Pacific programmes and initiatives
  • partnering with other universities and academics in the Pacific Region for research and collaborating to build post-graduate capacity in the Pacific Region.

Some organisations are also taking action to address pay gaps and to accelerate the growth of Pacific Peoples’ research capability.

“We are building the Pacific Research and Innovation Hub - a place where we grow Pacific research, researchers and research excellence through an expanded model of linked innovation where we bring diverse stakeholders including Pacific organisations and communities to the table at the outset of research to work together on transformative research that results in innovative outcomes for researchers and, especially, communities.” – University

The key area identified in the report on the Workforce Survey of Individuals to support Pacific Peoples in the sector was to have an increased focus on “recruiting Pacific Peoples into the sector”.

Te tautoko me te whakapiki i te whakakanohitanga o ngā wāhine | Supporting and improving women’s representation

Some organisations have specific programmes to improve the participation and leadership of women in the RSI workforce, which we know is a concern from the workforce characteristics outlined earlier in the report. These programmes include:

  • building support groups for female students and staff, such as the Women Professors’ Network, Women’s Gender Research Network and the Women in Science network
  • running leadership programmes and workshops on empowering women in STEM and academia
  • providing post parental leave grants to help academics returning from maternity leave to restart their research.

“We have a formal commitment to the UN Sustainable development (sic) goal #5 (Gender Equality) and support this…by sponsoring the Global Women in Food and Ag Survey, promoting the public reporting from that survey, and sponsoring a global mentorship programme for women in food and agriculture.” – IRO

The main way respondents to the Workforce Survey of Individuals thought the sector could help women in the workforce is to support women to progress into senior roles.

Ngā āputa utu kaimahi | Pay gaps

As mentioned above, some organisations record pay parity and work to address their ethnic and gender pay gaps.

“Annual production of a Gender and Ethnic Pay Equity Report, with an action plan to address key issues…We recently engaged the services of an external consultant to review our gender practices and provide recommendations to address our Gender Pay Gap.” – CRI

Ngā wero ki te whakatinana i ngā kōkiri edi | Challenges in implementing EDI initiatives

Over the years, RSI organisations have encountered various challenges in building an equitable, diverse, and inclusive RSI workforce. This comment from a university respondent describes one of the key issues they experience.

“There is a significant shortage of Māori and Pacific PhD graduates in a number of discipline areas (e.g. STEM) which makes building a diverse research workforce challenging. While ‘cluster hiring’ has been recommended as way of improving job satisfaction of Māori and Pacific academics and avoid putting pressure put on a singular Māori scientist within a faculty or team, the sheer lack of Māori and Pacific academics in certain areas makes this difficult to achieve.” – University