The Australian Workplace Equality Index

While many Awards Nomination Processes boast a much quicker and less cumbersome submission process, the AWEI is extremely comprehensive and evidence based. Therefore, it does take some time to complete. Employers are asked a series of very specific questions in relation to areas that directly impact inclusion, or the perception thereof, and are required to provide evidence for all responses.

Evidence may entail a detailed description of a process. Alternatively, copies of supporting documentation to validate responses. This ensures that all employers are measured on not only the same criteria, but allows employers the flexibility in their approach to meeting required criteria – providing sufficient evidence is supplied.

As the Index is used for benchmarking purposes, the necessary rigour and submission process provides an accurate gauge regarding the level of inclusivity efforts within the submitting employer organisation.

Already, since its launch in 2010, the Index has witnessed a significant shift in practice and as a result was re-aligned in 2014 to not only match the level of practice currently within Australia but to once again shift it to the next level. The AWEI was realigned once again in 2019.

As many of you will already be aware, we re-calibrate the AWEI every three years with changes in current Australian practice and that which is measured by peer organisations internationally.

This year marks the end of the current iteration and the time at which the new iteration of the AWEI would be developed.

Outside of the three-year calibration cycle the AWEI has only undergone two significant changes in terms of how it is scored, and tiers assessed.

  • The first being in 2014 when we moved from a Top 10 leader board to a Top 20 leader board.
  • And the second in 2017 when we moved away from a leader board to a tiered recognition structure (Participating, Bronze, Silver Gold),

Both changes were made after quite significant consultation.

Time for change

Increasingly members have been reaching out to us asking if we should once again be revisiting the structure and methodology of the AWEI.  Of significant concern to participating employers is the time and resources required for an organisation to submit.  We have gathered a lot of feedback over the years, and we have utilised that feedback in the initial stages of planning for a new tool going forward.

As an evidence based benchmarking tool, the AWEI benchmark will always take more time to submit than a subjective award nomination.  But there are greater efficiencies that we can achieve and in consultation with you, a better process that will reduce the amount of work put in by employers while maintaining high standards of integrity via a strong evidence base.

To do this well, we need time, and we want to engage you in a feedback process before the tool is fully developed.  Obviously, we could not do this (in additional to the national and international re-calibration) within a two-month period, the time you would expect to see the new submission documents online.

So to this end, we have taken the somewhat difficult decision of utilising the remainder of this year to consult with you extensively in regard to the new look AWEI with the view of launching the final AWEI February next year.

From a participation perspective, this means that there will be no AWEI benchmarking submissions 2023 (Platinum Project submissions will continue) … and as a result, no awards event next May.  However, there will be a pathway to obtain Bronze over the next year and for those looking towards silver and gold tier recognition, a years’ notice on what will be required for your next submission.

Please note that there are three components to the AWEI:

  1. Roadmap – pathway to best practice.  Organisations can still use the existing tool to guide them in best practice.
  2. Benchmark – the process of submitting AWEI for benchmarking and for tier recognition – this is the only component for which there will be a hold 2023
  3. Employee Survey – this will continue and be available early 2023 for feedback and analysis.

It’s also worth noting that what would have been the submission period for next year’s AWEI Benchmark coincides with World Pride, the biggest event in NSW since the 2000 Olympics and one that will see participation from right across Australia, and indeed the world.  As a result, we have already received notification from several organisations that they do not intend to submit AWEI 2023 due to their involvement in World Pride.  So, we feel this is the ideal year for an extensive consultation and review.

Be involved

So, here is how you can be involved in the review process.  I will personally be running focus groups along with my team over the next couple of months.  Some will be in person, across most states, the majority via Zoom and Teams.  I welcome your participation in these sessions.

Register now 

Next Steps

We will keep you updated every step of the way.  We will be using the AWEI mailing list for all communications re: the new AWEI benchmark and this is where we will post invitations to participate in the focus groups.  No further communications will go via the Members mailing list as we have many organisations participating in the AWEI that are not members.

Please ensure that all those who play an active role in completing the AWEI or have a stakeholder interest in the benchmark are on this mailing list.  Session details will be sent out shortly.

Meanwhile, should you have any questions, please first review the frequently asked questions.

In closing, please do not stop the work that you are doing.  There has never been a more critical time.  It is so important that work in this area continues.

On behalf of ACON and the Pride in Diversity team, we would once again like to say thank you for all you do in this critical area of Diversity & Inclusion.

AWEI Mailing List

Keep up to date with all the latest notifications, including tips, reminders and press releases by joining our AWEI Mailing List.
Click here to register.

For more information on the AWEI and Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards event, please contact the Pride in Diversity office on (02) 9206 2139 or at