Beer Agents for Change release 2022 Diversity Survey Results

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Following the beer industry’s global #MeToo reckoning in 2021, Beer Agents for Change was formed by a group of experienced industry professionals. The group wanted to understand the experiences of those employed in the beer industry in Australia and a survey was undertaken to benchmark the state of the industry. To solve a problem, or to even make changes that will be effective, it is important to continue to quantify and qualify the issues that exist.

The initial results from the 2021 survey were illuminating and revealed problematic issues. With a continued view to present this survey annually, Beer Agents for Change shared a follow up survey to take a snapshot of people’s experiences in the last 12 months. The survey was created for everyone employed in the beer industry to collect data from those working in every aspect of beer – from brewery owners to brewers, accountants, sales reps and bartenders.

The results presented in the follow up survey in 2022 show that the beer industry remains on similar ground to the 2021 survey in terms of both gender and ethnic diversity overall. The gender split of survey respondents was 48% female identifying, which anecdotally is not representative of the overall industry.

Results of this survey indicate that a significant portion of respondents who have not personally experienced discrimination tend to believe it does not exist.

Being part of the majority means not regularly being confronted with a lack of diversity and a failure to realise that others’ experiences are different from one’s own.

While gender diversity in total company employment has improved, the lack of women or nonbinary people in senior roles remains unbalanced – with 40% of respondents claiming less than 10% of women or non-binary people in senior roles in their organisation.

There were several perceived barriers to career progression and entry into the industry highlighted throughout the survey, with the biggest barriers identified as general lack of diversity and inclusion and lack of resources in relation to small business set up.

One respondent said, “It’s an industry of mates, hiring people that look and feel like you,” while another referenced small business obstacles; “Small business does not generally have clear
paths for careers (and we have lots of small businesses), so it is still a risk to be in this industry if you want a stable progressing career.”

Respondents still report discrimination and harassment in the workplace. 91% report experiencing discrimination in relation to gender, sexuality, race, appearance and/or age within the beer industry throughout their careers, with 47% reporting experiencing discrimination within the past 12 months.

In regard to harassment in relation to the gender, sexual, racial, based on appearance or age, 57% of respondents report having experienced this throughout their careers, sadly with 15% experiencing harassment in the past 12 months.  It is worth noting that 93% of those who have experienced abuse or harassment based on gender identify as women.

59% responded that they would use an external whistleblower service if it was available to those working in the industry.

With open-ended questions posed regarding the biggest perceived challenges and concerns in the beer industry, responses focused on two key issues – diversity and inclusion and a lack of accountability and consequences.

Safety is a concern with one respondent saying that the “lack of accountability for wrong doers via an inability to bring to light their actions,” remains a challenge in the industry.

One respondent stated an issue with community support saying “That not enough men are standing up in support and making noise. it feels like we have to fight the fight mostly alone.” There were some positive results highlighted between the first survey and the second to acknowledge, revealing that more businesses have a policy addressing ethnic diversity (almost half, which is up from one third); and the number of businesses who acknowledge indigenous custodians of land and names at key sites has doubled. Development towards a more inclusive and diverse industry by any means is important growth to celebrate.

While there has been increased attention on diversity and inclusion in the beer industry, the results of the 2022 survey show little progress have been made in terms of gender and ethnic diversity. Even more concerning is the fact that a significant portion of respondents who have not experienced discrimination themselves tend to deny its existence, highlighting a dangerous lack of awareness and empathy. It is clear that being part of the privileged majority has blinded many to the harsh realities of those who face discrimination and exclusion on a daily basis.

You can find the Diversity Survey Infographic here.

We thank survey respondents for their honesty and commitment to making change in the Australian beer industry. All data collected is anonymous and confidential, and used for industry

Members of Beer Agents for Change: Jayne Lewis, Jessie Jungalwalla, Roxy Boubis, Tiffany Waldron

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