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. It was also re-aligned in 2019, as there were further significant shifts in Australian inclusion practices. In 2023, the Index was not only re-aligned, but underwent it’s third restructure.

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 in 2014, when we moved from a Top 10 leader board to a Top 20 leader board.
  • The second in 2017, when we moved away from a leader board to a tiered recognition structure (Participating, Bronze, Silver Gold).
  • The third in 2023, when we moved from a single submissions structure and methodology to the current Foundation and Advanced Submissions.

The above 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 and processes that we can achieve, which will reduce the amount of work put in by employers while maintaining high standards of integrity via a strong evidence base.

There is now a pathway to obtain Bronze Tier Status, through the AWEI Foundation Submission. Once obtained, participating organisations are then eligible for Silver and Gold Tier Status through the AWEI Advanced 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 
  3. Employee Survey – this will continue and be available early 2023 for feedback and analysis.

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

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For more information on the AWEI, please contact