There’s no getting around it. Business has changed dramatically in recent years. We now live in a global, interconnected world with ready access to different markets, people, and cultures. This access has benefitted many of us professionally and personally. But to thrive in this new, borderless, environment, we must put awareness of cultural issues front of mind.
Different countries, organizations, and people are tackling this challenge in their own ways. Here we explain why cultural awareness in Australia matters.
Australia is home to nearly 26 million people. It has long been one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. But recent population and cultural changes mean that its makeup is changing fast. This is how.
Official 2016 census data shows that two-thirds of the Australian population were born in Australia. But, of the one-third born overseas, nearly one in five had arrived very recently (since 2012). While most came from England and New Zealand, an increasing number of people came from China, India, the Philippines, and Malaysia. This rapid change meant that countries like Italy and Scotland fell out of the top 10 list for overseas-born residents.
The data also shows that Australians identify with over 300 separate ancestries, or cultural groups, and a similar number of languages. More than one-fifth of them spoke a language other than English at home, with Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, Arabic, and Vietnamese standing out.
Adding to the country’s diversity is the increasing strength of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Numbers increased from 2.5% of the total Australian population in 2011 to 2.8% in 2016. This welcome increase means that 649,171 people identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Lastly, religious affiliation is changing too. While Christianity was the main religion, the number of people saying they did not claim any religion increased from 22% to 30% between 2011-2016. Islam and Buddhism were ranked second and third respectively.
Diversity means cultural differences and the need to education across cultural about domestic violence issues as well to ensure the well-being of everyone.
Awareness of population and cultural changes matter to Australians and those who come into contact with them, on every level.
Government must be aware of these shifts to legislate effectively, protect citizens’ rights, and improve the welfare of its people. Additionally, awareness of cultural diversity is a key driver for further population growth. It makes the country more welcoming to highly skilled people from abroad. Thus, improves the prospects, health, and well-being of the existing population. This, in turn, boosts Gross Domestic Product, a key measure of the strength of the economy.
Businesses and industries get to incorporate this changing workforce, using empathy and understanding to work together across cultural divides. Having an awareness of cultural differences also helps them offer attractive products and services which reflect current trends instead of outdated ones.
And, as people, Australians want to preserve and enhance their reputation as welcoming and tolerant. By being aware of, and sensitive to, cultural differences at home and abroad they can play their part.