80% of Asian Australians Experience Discrimination in Public, Study Finds

A staggering 82% of Asian Australians have reportedly experienced discrimination, a recent nationwide survey has revealed

The study, which interviewed over 2,000 people across Australia, found that Australians of Asian background are the most likely ethnic group to be discriminated against as consumers or employees. 

Conducted by the Australian National University’s Center for Social Research and Methods, the research also found that 81% of Middle Eastern Australians and 71% of Indigenous Australians experienced discrimination.

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According to Asian-Australian respondents, they mostly experience discriminationat a shop or restaurant,” and then at workplaces and educational institutions.

The survey was conducted ahead of the first Asian-Australian Leadership Summit (AALS) — an initiative of Asialink, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Australian National University.

“The findings of this survey are a stark illustration of the challenges faced by Asian-Australians in our society—and particularly in the workplace,” Asialink Group CEO Penny Burtt was quoted as saying. 

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“This study reinforces the need to do more to advance Asian-Australians in our workplaces, particularly given the important role that this community can play in our successful engagement with the Asian region.”

Researcher Nicholas Biddle noted that in the cases of racial discrimination, self-reporting is a credible tool. 

“When we look at people’s behavior and people’s actions, then it’s the self-reports that really matter,” he tells the Sunday Morning Herald. “It’s a description of people’s experience and if people are experiencing discrimination in the job or in education, then they’re more likely to disengage from those types of activities.”

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Based on the findings, discrimination and “stereotypes associated with the group” were the most common barriers that Asian Australians face when trying to obtain leadership positions in business and professional roles.

Professor Gareth Evans, Chancellor of the ANU, lamented that addressing these findings require a lot of work. He further noted that the barriers create a “bamboo ceiling” for Asian Australians in the workplace.

“Ensuring cultural diversity in our business, professional, and other organisational leadership needs to become a priority across our community,” Evans said.

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