09 May Diversity & Inclusion across the space & spatial communities
The space and spatial sectors are facing a shortage of talent in Australia. In the space sector, the Australian Space Agency is responding with the goal of creating 20,000 new jobs by 2030, whereas the spatial sector has several dedicated initiatives to increase the pipeline of professionals: in the spatial sector it is estimated that by 2025, there will be a shortfall of approximately 1,300 graduate or licensed surveyors and 300 geospatial specialists with university degrees. Looking at the sector make up, the spatial sector is currently male dominated, with only one quarter of the spatial workforce being female and with significant pay gaps between men and women. More broadly, there is limited evidence of cultural diversity, indigenous employment, or people with disability in the sector. Data for the nascent Australian space sector is scarce, however envisaged to be similar to the spatial sector, as skilled space professionals emerge primarily from STEM fields.
OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH
For the space and spatial sectors to be able to sustainably grow, innovate and deliver leading and useful research in the coming years, a diverse workforce will be needed. This will include diversity of background – starting with gender – but also diversity of thinking approaches.
Peak bodies in both the space and spatial sector are strongly advocating for this change and making progress, either individually (e.g. Australian Space Agency having reached 50/50 gender balance) or in a coordinated fashion (e.g. the Space, Spatial and Surveying Diversity Leadership Network). For those efforts to be maximised and leveraged, coordination across both sectors is paramount and would result in increased benefits.
1. Establish a coordinating diversity and inclusion (D&I) group for the space, spatial and surveying sectors with the mandate to leverage, amplify and expand existing successful D&I initiatives and actions plans at sector level. The group should have representation from the peak bodies of each sector, and include a working party resourced to benchmark, monitor and report on the state of D&I in the sector on a regular basis.