Employ people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds

Having a diverse workplace means you can market your goods and services more effectively, both in Australia and overseas.

What is CALD?

A Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) workplace means having employees who:

  • are from different countries, including English-speaking countries such as Canada
  • have different cultural backgrounds
  • can speak other languages besides English
  • are from different areas in Australia, including regional towns
  • follow different religions.

Benefits of a CALD workplace

Australia is a multicultural society. Almost half of the population were either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas. Australia is also continuing to grow its international business networks. Our largest trading partners include Asian countries such as China and Japan.

It's therefore good business sense to welcome employees from CALD backgrounds, if they have the skills and experience you need. They can help you to:

  • understand Australia's multicultural consumers
  • provide better customer service by using their language and cultural skills
  • provide access to new market segments and networks
  • expand internationally to overseas markets.

For example:

  • Australian banks and businesses often employ people who can speak Asian languages to work in their Chinatown branches, to provide a better service to consumers from Asian backgrounds.
  • If you run an organic produce store, an employee from a small farming background may develop a better rapport with local suppliers, and have a deeper understanding of supply issues, compared with someone from an urban area.

Recruiting CALD employees

Here are some things to consider when planning your recruitment:

  • Understand who your existing customers are. Can you serve them better with different skill sets? Does your workplace reflect your customer base?
  • Research potential new markets. Who are your products or services suited to? Could a more diverse workplace help you reach those new markets?
  • Plan the future of your business. Where might you export your products or services? Are you considering importing? What language skills would help you do this more easily?

Adjust your recruitment process accordingly. For example, if you're keen to recruit a Spanish-speaking employee because you import handmade goods from Spain, advertise your position in local Spanish language newspapers or community radio.

Get more tips! Download a step-by-step guide to preventing discrimination in recruitment from the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Working with CALD employees

Make sure your workplace culture is ready to embrace diversity. For example, you can:

  • develop workplace policies and training that promote cross-cultural awareness
  • hold lunches and events that celebrate workplace diversity and encourage employees to share their cultures and experiences
  • set up mentoring arrangements that match employees from different backgrounds, to encourage open communication
  • find out when significant cultural and religious events and days are on, so you can anticipate leave requests and plan celebrations in the workplace.

Check out the calendar of cultural and religious dates on the Department of Social Services website.

Race discrimination

It’s unlawful to disadvantage employees and job seekers in any way because of their:

  • race or colour
  • descent, national origin or ethnic origin.

To make sure you have a discrimination-free workplace, and you understand your rights and responsibilities as an employer, check out:


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