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Diversity & Inclusion:

Empowering Indigenous professionals and embracing diversity in the tech sector

Embracing diversity

In our ever-evolving tech landscape, diversity and inclusion are vital for fostering innovation and driving meaningful change. As recruiters, we recognise the tremendous potential and unique perspectives that Indigenous professionals bring to the table.

In this article, we explore the transformative impact of embracing diversity within this industry and look at practical recruiting techniques to help provide opportunities to Indigenous Australians.

The untapped potential of Indigenous talent in tech

By exploring the rich cultural heritage, unique experiences, and diverse skill sets that Indigenous candidates possess, recruiters can gain a deeper understanding of the value they bring to organisations.

Indigenous people can bring unique perspectives to the technology and science sectors. For instance, did you know that Indigenous communities used to rely on the feel of electromagnetic fields for navigation? Or that they used the night sky to determine whether there was water up ahead?

As the founder of Australia’s first Indigenous edu-tech company, CEO Mikaela Jade has created a place where Indigenous cultures and critical technologies meet. Jade, who is also a member of the Global Futures Council within the World Economic Forum, founded ‘Indigital’ in 2014.

We are the original scientists and engineers and we have more than 80,000 years of cultural knowledge in our sciences to bring to the table,” she says. “We have a lot to contribute to STEM and a lot of opportunities for First Nations people to create sustainable and enduring businesses in this sector.” – Australian National University.

Learning digital skills

Indigital partners with companies such as Microsoft and Telstra to deliver Indigital to Schools, which aims to close the digital skills divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Participants connect with culture, history, and language from First Nations Australian elders, while learning digital skills such as augmented and mixed reality technologies, geospatial technologies, animation, and coding.

I feel the spatial web is one of those areas where we’ll definitely supersede Western scientific knowledge,” Jade explains.  “Our people have lived in multiverses and been custodians of multiverses since time began. We have a very good and grounded understanding of what it means to walk between the physical world and other worlds at the same time.”

The intersection between First Nations Australian knowledge and western science is something that Mikaela Jade sees as crucial to the future of the planet. She says;

Many ways we think are very different to Western cultures. The collision of these ideas is such an exciting place to be.” – Forbes.

Indigenous Australians as a culture have prioritised problem-solving. It has been needed to ensure their long-term survival. If training or programs are presented in ways that resonate, Indigenous students will thrive.

In 2021, a ‘Cyber Camp’ initiative for Aboriginal children and family members demonstrated that their cyber and STEM program was effective – because the workshops involved a lot of problem solving. The program organiser, Heidi Winter, said;

These kids picked up the concepts within the curriculum of cyber security, the quickest I’ve ever seen.” – Information Age.

Bridging the gap: Addressing challenges

When examining the participation of Aboriginal people, including women, in the technology industry, the statistics highlight a great divide.  As of 2020, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accounted for only about 1.4 percent of the tech workforce. This statistic reinforces the urgent need for more inclusive practices, targeted opportunities, and support to increase representation and diversity within the industry.

Acknowledging the barriers faced by First Nations people in pursuing technology careers reveals the larger challenges of limited access to education and resources, cultural biases, and systemic inequalities. These obstacles must be addressed to provide equal opportunities and a more supportive environment for Aboriginal individuals in the technology sector.

Efforts are being made to bridge these gaps and promote greater inclusion. Programs and initiatives that provide training, mentorship, and support specifically targeted towards First Nations people in technology are being implemented to increase representation and foster a more diverse workforce.

However, there is still much work to be done to ensure equal opportunities, recognition, and representation of Aboriginal people in the technology industry.

Bridging the gap: Creating opportunities

So, how can employers bridge the gap? What can they do?

Fostering inclusive workplaces is one strategy that provides a welcoming environment for Indigenous candidates. For the Australian Public Service Commission (APS), a diverse workforce is one way to remain strongly connected to the people of Australia. The APS implemented a xWorkforce Strategy that addresses diversity and inclusion by improving the employee experience – through focusing on cultural integrity and career development – for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. As stated by the Diversity Council of Australia;

“Inclusion is much more than a ‘feel good’ exercise – it creates a better work environment which fuels performance.”

Targeted outreach programs are another proven means of creating opportunities within the tech space. CSIRO, in partnership with Australia’s National Research Science Agency and the BHP Foundation, delivered an xIndigenous STEM Educational Program to schools from 2014 until 2021. The results indicated that there were positive lasting impacts on the students, with a direct impact on the number of students going on to choose STEM subjects in years 10 to 12.

Indigenous leadership: Nurturing tomorrow’s tech innovators

The role of today’s Indigenous leaders in the tech industry will have a profound impact on shaping the sector’s future. By promoting Indigenous leadership roles and investing in mentorship programs, recruiters can foster a new generation of tech innovators.

Founder of Indigenous edu-tech company, Indigital, Mikaela Jade aims to improve understanding of First Nations culture and to build future employment opportunities in emerging technologies among Indigenous communities. Jade says;

Our cultural knowledge systems can help to progress Australia’s own innovation landscape. Indigenous people can lead in the technology sector.”

Building inclusive teams: The power of diversity

It is well known that diverse teams are pivotal in driving innovation, creativity, and problem-solving within tech companies. Basically, diverse organisations perform better, and here are the stats to prove it:

  • According to Gartner, employees who work in diverse and inclusive teams see a 12% increase in performance.
  • BCG note that revenue can rise by up to 19% in organisations with strong DEI ties.
  • Studies show that innovation levels increase by as much as 1.7x in inclusive companies.

From a job-hunting perspective, inclusive workplaces are an important factor to candidates when looking to move jobs. Cisco is one technology company where diversity matters and where it continues to reap the rewards of their actions. Cisco regularly receives “best workplace” awards for women, LGBTQ+ members, and former military.

In 2020, Cisco embarked on a five-year journey, backed by a $300 million commitment, to explore new ways to address inequalities, break down barriers, and create more inclusive opportunities for people to thrive. Through this program, they have seen increased black representation in many roles, they have supported 100 non-profits through their gift program, and they have significantly increased the amount of spending with diverse suppliers.

About their partnership with Indigital, Steven Worrall, Managing Director at Microsoft Australia was quoted as saying;

Microsoft reflects Indigenous connection to Country at our Kemps Creek Data Centre. The partnership facilitates a respectful and collaborative relationship between the company, project stakeholders, and surrounding Indigenous communities.”

Rethinking recruitment practices: Removing bias and barriers

Recruiters, as well as organisations, can play a pivotal role in building partnerships with Indigenous communities, educational institutions, and organisations. By doing so, recruiters will have access to a broader talent pool and unique perspectives that will potentially lead to breakthrough innovations.

Never has there been a time like now to reevaluate recruitment practices to remove unconscious bias and create equitable opportunities for Indigenous professionals here in Australia. From blind hiring techniques to inclusive interview processes, it is important to uncover ways to foster a fair and unbiased selection process.

Blind hiring techniques focus on concealing certain personal or demographic information about job candidates during the initial stages of evaluation. This allows evaluation of candidates based on their skills, qualifications, and experiences rather than their personal characteristics.

Alternatively, recruiters or employers can use skill tests, work samples, or assessments rather than relying solely on CVs and interviews. Creating diverse hiring panels also helps prevent unconscious bias.


In conclusion, the tech sector’s journey towards true diversity and inclusion requires active efforts from recruiters and organisations. By recognising and harnessing the immense talent of Indigenous professionals, businesses can benefit in many ways – not only from a more diverse and inclusive workforce – hiring IT Indigenous people will bring in traditional knowledge and perspectives, a strong work ethic, and community engagement. All of which can be applied to new technologies in innovative ways.

Embracing diversity is not just a moral imperative; it is the key to unlocking the tech sector’s full potential and shaping a brighter, more inclusive future for all. Luvo Talent is proud to recruit Indigenous peoples for the clients we serve. To find out more, please contact us.

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