Our workforce diversity

Representing the communities we serve.

In 2016, Roads and Maritime took a refreshed approach to increase workforce diversity. Since then, progress has been made in developing programs and making system improvements, particularly focusing on increasing representation of women in senior roles and increasing representation of Aboriginal employees. However, there is more to do across all diversity groups to drive an inclusive culture.

Roads and Maritime has a state-wide footprint with a strong presence across the Sydney metropolitan area, as well as a presence across regional and remote NSW. This geographical spread presents both a strength and a challenge.

The data in this section illustrates Roads and Maritime's current position and diversity targets aligned to the Transport Cluster and NSW Public Sector. The data is correct as at June 2017.

What is diversity and inclusion?

Diversity refers to a broad range of factors that make people unique.

These factors include gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, religious belief, race (including colour, nationality, descent and ethnic, ethno-religious or national origin or immigration), age, disability (including both visible disabilities, ie physical and less obvious disabilities such as sensory, intellectual, mental health or psycho-social), marital or parental status, educational background and socioeconomic status.

Inclusion refers to the achievement of a work environment where there is respect and support for differences and diversity of thought. The workplace is characterised by a flexible work culture supportive of diverse needs and free from discrimination, harassment or bullying. It's about having a workplace culture where different perspectives are heard and allowed to contribute to the success of the business.

– Transport for NSW Diversity & Inclusion Plan 2014–2019


Gender representation

Research undertaken by the Australian Human Rights Commission shows increasing women's employment rates could boost Australia's GDP by 11 per cent6.

The benefits of driving this across the globe are far reaching. In NSW over 74.6 per cent of women live in major cities, 25.1 per cent in regional NSW and 0.4 per cent in remote communities. These statistics are reflected across the Roads and Maritime workforce with about 59.5 per cent of the Sydney Metropolitan area workforce being female; representation in regional and remote communities is much lower. Although above the state average, this number fluctuates across locations and roles.

With this in mind, Roads and Maritime has an opportunity to continue to increase employment opportunities both regionally and in metropolitan areas.

Female representation is at its lowest in Roads and Maritime divisions that have a large number of traditionally 'blue collar' positions. This is consistent with recent research undertaken by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency that reports men are still concentrated in 'blue collar' industries such as mining, construction and manufacturing; and women in traditional 'caring' industries of health care and social assistance.

All Roads and Maritime:

Gender representation in Roads and Maritime staff: 31.3% female, 68.7% male.

Women in leadership

Roads and Maritime has seen an increase in the number of women in senior service roles.

Infographic showing current women in leadership roles in Roads and Maritime: 20.2% in January 2016, increased to 24.4% in January 2017. Currently 26.1% women in senior service.

In January 2016, representation of women in senior service roles was at 20.2 per cent. This increased to 26.1 per cent as of June 2017. This translates to an increase of 28 women in leadership roles since January 2016. The Roads and Maritime December 2017 target for female representation in senior service roles has already been met and the organisation is steadily working towards the Roads and Maritime 2020 target.

Increasing representation of women in senior roles:

Roads and Maritime 2020 target of women across all senior service roles: 35%


Aboriginal representation

Aboriginal people continue to face disadvantages unmatched by any other cultural group in Australian society.

Differences in life expectancy, education and employment participation are areas where there is significant disparity in comparison to the rest of NSW and the broader Australian population. The Council of Australian Government's National Indigenous Reform Agreement outlines the reform agenda established to close the gap on Aboriginal disadvantage. In light of this, Roads and Maritime and government at all levels play an important role in closing the gap of disadvantage for Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal people make up approximately 3 per cent of Australia's population but account for 45 per cent of Australians living in remote communities8. In NSW, Aboriginal people make up approximately 2.5 per cent of the population9. Over 200,000 Aboriginal people live in NSW making up 31 per cent of the total Aboriginal population across Australia10.

Increasing the representation of Aboriginal employees at all levels continues to be a challenge across the Transport Cluster, including Roads and Maritime. As at 31 July there were 114 Aboriginal people employed within Roads and Maritime or 1.83 per cent of the total workforce. Improving economic and social outcomes for Aboriginal people remains a priority and more work needs to be done to attract and retain Aboriginal employees.

Roads and Maritime is focused on not only increasing representation of Aboriginal people across the agency, but ensuring that there is representation of Aboriginal people at all levels.

Inforgraphic showing reepresentation of Aboriginal people in Roads and Maritime staff: 1.83% of employees are Aboriginal people (click to see footnote 7). NSW Public Sector 2021 target across all employment grades: 1.8%.


Aboriginal Participation in Construction (APiC)

Around $7 billion is spent each year on government construction projects throughout NSW.

In light of this, the NSW Government has an important role in improving the long-term employment and economic status of Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal Participation in Construction Policy commenced in 2015 and mandates a portion of a project spend to support participation of Aboriginal people and Aboriginal businesses in infrastructure projects. Given Roads and Maritime's capital investment in the management and delivery of major infrastructure projects, this policy is a key initiative for increasing Aboriginal participation and employment for the agency11.


Research undertaken by the NSW Office for Ageing revealed that by 2031, one in three people will be aged 50 years and older.

This coupled with improved life expectancy and standards of living have significant implications for the workforce. The NSW Ageing Strategy 2016-2020 focuses on a set of principles to support the ageing population. Of these principles, inclusive communities are a key pillar12. Roads and Maritime has a higher representation of 30 and over and a lower representation of 29 and under compared with the NSW population.

Over 55s still represent the highest proportion of the Roads and Maritime workforce which is a trend that is likely to continue in coming years. Roads and Maritime will need to continue building the talent pipeline through career opportunities and Entry Level Talent Programs to increase representation of the younger workforce.

Grpah showing the distribution of age amongst Roads and Maritime employees: 15-29: 9%. 30-44: 30%. 450-55: 25.8%. 55 and over: 35.2%.


One in five Australians has one or more disabilities and this proportion is increasing with the ageing population 13.

Within Roads and Maritime, 34 employees have disclosed they have a disability. 2,994 employees have disclosed they don't have a disability and the remainder have not disclosed whether they have a disability or not.

We plan to develop strategies to improve disclosure so we can better support our staff by providing innovative and responsive solutions to maximise performance.

We will improve and broaden our programs to attract, retain and support people with disabilities.

Numbers of Roads and Maritime staff declaring disability: 34 employees state they have a disability, 2,994 state they don't have a disability, and 3,189 have not disclosed.

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CALD)

Over 25 per cent of people in NSW were born overseas. This number increases to 50 per cent when looking at the proportion of people with at least one parent born overseas.

NSW is a culturally diverse community. NSW Health research from the 2011 Census reported that 27.5 per cent of NSW's population speaks a language other than English at home14.

We know that our workforce is diverse and are working to better understand our cultural representation. Cross-cultural competency and training through the Conscious Inclusion program is used to increase awareness of unconscious bias and develop a more inclusive culture at Roads and Maritime.

Sexual orientation

It is unclear what proportion of our population identify as belonging to a sexual or gender minority but we do know that up to 11% of the NSW population identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Intersex15.

The 2016 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) showed 21 per cent of LGBTI staff do not feel they can be themselves at work and 29 per cent do not believe that their manager or team leader supports LGBTI inclusion. We assume that similar findings would be true for people identifying as Queer.

To ensure LGBTIQ inclusion in our workplaces we will continue to develop programs to attract diverse individuals and make our workplaces inclusive through systems improvements, knowledge and tools.


6. Australian Human Rights Commission, Women in male-dominated industries: a toolkit of strategies, 2013

7. RMS HRIS system 31 July 2017. This represents Aboriginal people across RMS collectively; not representation at all employment grades.

8. Commonwealth of Australia, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Closing the Gap Prime Minister's Report 2017, 2017

9. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011 Census tells the story of New South Wales' Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples, 2012.

10. Transport for NSW, Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2014–2019, 2014.

11. APiC Factsheet

12. Department of Family and Community Services, NSW Ageing Strategy 2016–2020.

13. Transport for NSW, Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2014-2019, 2014.


15. Department of Health, Australian Government, National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Ageing and Aged Care Strategy, 2012.

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