To become Australia’s innovation catalyst, we must create a culture and environment that encourages our people to work collaboratively and creatively to deliver a positive impact for Australia and the world.

During 2015–16 we continued to develop and support our staff and leaders as outlined in our People Strategy. This involved making performance incentives available to all our staff, and simultaneously encouraging an appropriate work–life balance by supporting flexible working conditions and fostering a family-friendly environment across the organisation.

Through the ongoing efforts of our Human Resources and Organisation Development teams, we continued to provide leadership on matters relating to our people, in addition to offering guidance and ensuring compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987.

In 2015–16, we focused on the following areas from our People Strategy:

  • Empower – Our leaders and staff are empowered to deliver our strategy.
  • Mobility and agility – CSIRO is motivated and able to mobilise swiftly to deliver impact.
  • Talent – We actively attract and develop innovative capability to meet the needs of our customers.
  • Diversity and inclusion – Our diverse and inclusive teams drive innovation and delivery to our customers.

Enterprise agreements

Enterprise agreements set the terms and conditions of employment for CSIRO staff. Two enterprise agreements are in operation: the CSIRO Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 and the CDSCC Enterprise Agreement 2014–2017.

The CSIRO Enterprise Agreement came into operation on 7 July 2011 following formal approval processes and a staff vote. This agreement reached its nominal expiry date in August 2014 and will continue in operation until it is replaced or terminated in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 . Negotiations for a replacement agreement commenced in July 2014 and are ongoing within the parameters established by the Australian Government Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy, which applies to the Australian Public Service (APS) and non-APS Australian government agencies, including CSIRO.

Learning and development

During 2015–16, CSIRO provided 7,621 development days, a 45 per cent increase on the previous year and a continuation of over five years of growth. This year’s marked increase is due to the release of new programs explicitly supporting the Strategy 2020, including the Lean LaunchPad, Customer Conversations and CSIRO’s Intensive Development Centres1. These new offerings complement CSIRO’s core curriculum of over 47 programs.

In line with global workplace learning trends, this year has seen the transfer of Working Smart with Outlook courses to a virtual program, supporting our move towards more collaborative online learning across the curriculum. We also introduced a new suite of three interactive, scenario-based eLearning modules. The result was a 60 per cent increase in eLearning participation compared to last year, with 2,876 people completing the Impact module, 3,280 people completing the Diversity and Inclusion module, and 3,329 completing CSIRO’s Behaviours module. Moreover, 96 per cent of participants indicated they would apply their learning in the workplace and that they understood the importance of their contribution to these critical, strategy-related areas.

Across the curriculum, all programs are monitored to ensure a minimum of 80 per cent of participants agree that they achieved ‘value for investment’ and ‘would recommend’ the programs to colleagues. If these ratings are not achieved, programs are either redesigned or stopped.

We provided 7,621 development days through our Learning and Development curriculum.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion initiatives under our 2012–15 Diversity and Inclusion Plan continued this year, and we started developing the 2016–19 Plan.

The 2016–19 Plan builds on the achievements of the previous plan, with a strong emphasis on accelerating our efforts to create opportunities for women to progress to senior science roles.

The CSIRO Strategy and the People Strategy clearly articulate our commitment to realising the innovation benefits that derive from an inclusive workforce diverse in its background, thinking and experiences. The Diversity and Inclusion Plans reflect these aspirations and commitment to action.

Some highlights of 2015–16 include:

  • increased leader engagement through Business Unit Diversity and Inclusion Committees, Leadership Team development programs and representation on key diversity-project teams
  • establishment of diversity and inclusion reference groups and/or committees across all Business Units to support the rollout of enterprise and local initiatives, including the establishment of Business Unit Diversity and Inclusion Plans
  • selection of CSIRO as an inaugural member of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot of Athena SWAN Charter in Australia to address the improvement of gender equity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
  • continuation of unconscious bias training across Business Units
  • integration of Diversity and Inclusion content into the CSIRO Leadership and Team development curriculum
  • establishment of the GLBTI@CSIRO staff network to provide support and social networking for our gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex identifying staff and GLBTI-friendly staff
  • introduction of Transition Guidelines to support leaders supporting transgender staff.

Additionally, since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at: Australian Public Service Commission . From 2010–11, departments and agencies have no longer been required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, which sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the Strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports is available at: Department of Social Services—National Disability Strategy .

The percentage of staff with disability in CSIRO as at 30 June 2016 was 3.9 per cent.

Indigenous Engagement Strategy

CSIRO believes that Indigenous Australians have made and will continue to make extraordinary contributions to Australia across cultural, economic and scientific domains. Furthermore, CSIRO recognises the social and economic disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and is committed to overcoming the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non–Indigenous Australians.

CSIRO initiated its Indigenous Engagement Strategy in July 2007. The Strategy aims to achieve greater participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in CSIRO’s research and development agenda and activities, and to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. To focus our efforts in this area, CSIRO has developed its first Reconciliation Action Plan, outlining a range of activities and deliverables aimed at closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

Human Resources staff and the CSIRO Office of Indigenous Engagement are working together to review and revise CSIRO’s cultural awareness program and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy. This strategy will provide a range of activities aimed at improving the recruitment, development, promotion and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. As at 30 June 2016, 99 (1.8 per cent) of our employees identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, an increase from 22 (0.3 per cent) on 30 June 2011. Of these, there are 25 cadets, 14 trainees, 3 research scientists, 10 technical support staff, 18 research technicians, 15 administrative services staff, 9 communication staff and 5 general services staff.

We engage and partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across a broad range of areas, such as marine and environmental science, human resources, property services, astronomy and space science, information management and technology, forestry, mining, horticulture and aquaculture. In this way, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are engaged and contributing to research impacting the productivity and sustainability of Australian industry. Similarly, CSIRO also has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represented on high-level advisory committees such as the Minerals Resources Advisory Council and the Indigenous Strategic Advisory Council.

Research engagement has continued to develop with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including exciting new partnerships led by Land and Water, Oceans and Atmosphere, Health and Biosecurity, Astronomy and Space Science and Education Services. CSIRO has confirmed that it is working towards meeting the Commonwealth Government’s target that three per cent of all purchases will be made with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander–owned businesses.

In partnership with the BHP Billiton Foundation, CSIRO is implementing a five-year, $28.8 million education project aimed at increasing the participation and achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in STEM. For further information on this program please see page 26. The project’s development, implementation and evaluation is guided by recognising the fundamental importance of culture and identity in student achievement, a strong cultural aspect and a rigorous academic focus.

Staff demographics

Our people are employed under Section 32 of the SIR Act. At 30 June 2016, CSIRO had a total of 5,367 staff, a full-time equivalent (FTE) of 4,864. Table 3.3 shows our planned future average staffing levels (ASL). Table 3.4 shows the number of staff employed in different functional areas.

Overall, the number of staff increased by 1.9 per cent (98) over the last 12 months. Research science staff decreased by 3.6 per cent (54). Voluntary staff turnover remained low at 4.6 per cent. The proportion of female staff remained constant at 40 per cent, and the proportion of female research science staff also remained constant at 26 per cent.

TABLE 3.3: Forecast average staffing levels (FTE)
2015–16 2016–17 2019–20





Table 3.4: Staff numbers (headcount)
Functional Area 2015–16 % Female in 2015–16

Research scientists



Research project staff



Senior specialists



Research management



Research consulting



Technical services



Communication and Information Services



General services



Administrative support32



General management



Total headcount






  1. These figures exclude accelerator development days, which will be captured under the ON program.
  2. Administrative Support: Staff who provide science-based administrative and management services and systems.

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