Most Australian employees know nothing about Asia

Australian employees

Asia might be our closest neighbour and most important export partner, particularly with all the free trade agreements now with China, Japan and South Korea, but most Australian workers know zip about it.

A Diversity Council survey has found that close to two-thirds of workers have no or very little working knowledge of how to effectively manage an Australian business dealing with Asia.

Over a third (34.7 per cent) have little or no knowledge of Asia and only one in 10 (10.8 per cent) have what the Diversity Council calls “excellent Asia capability”

“Overall, our workforce scores three out of five for Asia capability,’’ the Diversity Council said.

Only one in five business leaders strongly agreed that they value Asian work experience when hiring new staff.

The survey also found that only 5.1 per cent of employees are fluent in at least one Asian language.

Also, having a business dealing with Asia did not give the business as much Asia capability as a business that had a head office in Asia.

“It appears there may be more talk than action when it comes to Australian organisations leveraging their workforce Asia capabilities,’’ the Diversity Council said. “Overall, surveyed Australian workers indicated their organisations were more likely to value the Asia capabilities of their workforce than know about, invest in, or effectively use these capabilities.”



An award winning author and journalist, commentator, lecturer, and speaker, Leon is a freelance business journalist who covers a range of areas including politics, strategy, globalization, leadership and all the big trends ahead. His main skill is summing up all the news that’s around. For the last 30 years, his main focus has been on management issues. He also produces two podcasts for RMIT University, Talking Business and Talking Technology. Leon has worked for Fairfax, News Limited, AAP and the Herald and Weekly Times.


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