Karen Loon, former partner at PwC, says

After England, India and China produced the second and third largest numbers of immigrants, reflecting changing patterns of immigration.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a racist thing, but I feel like for the country to progress and grow, it needs to bring in different people and accept them,” Loon said in an interview from Sydney via Zoom.

Having worked to improve PwC’s cultural diversity, he said returning home to Sydney a decade ago made him realize how far behind his home country was in harnessing and promoting talented entrepreneurs from non-European backgrounds.

She said the diversity conversation had been live in the UK for a decade and was also advanced in the US, compared to Australia.

That prompted her, at 53, to write her first Routledge-published book this month, Fostering culturally diverse leadership in organizationsin which he interviewed prominent Asian-Australian leaders who have “brought down the bamboo ceiling.”

“I felt that if I understood how leaders were doing it, that would really help me advise or help companies on what they could do to improve the situation in Australia,” he said.

He warned that Australia, and in particular the business sector, would pay a price if it did not improve quickly, in an environment of increased global demand for labor after the pandemic.

“Skilled immigrants have a lot of opportunities, the UK wants people, Singapore wants people for particular industries, you just can’t say ‘come to Australia for the lifestyle,’” he said.

The federal government is ready to support a surge in the inflow of skilled immigrants from Australia as it prepares to host this week’s jobs summit.

Australia’s jobless rate is at a record low of 3.3 per cent, but businesses say they are struggling to find workers to fill jobs, largely due to pandemic restrictions, when Australia shut down its doors to all foreigners and, sometimes, to its own citizens for two years. , as part of its efforts to rid its shores of COVID-19.


He said enhancing cultural diversity was not inevitable despite the growing Asian face of Australian society, due to people’s preference for working and collaborating with others like themselves.

She said there was a need to build “psychological safety” in workplaces where sensitive topics like race and ethnicity can be discussed openly without fear or unease.

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