The results of the second diversity survey on the Australian beer industry show little progress has been made since the 2021 data was released as women continue to report abuse or harassment in their workplaces while gender and ethnic imbalances remain.

Following on from the inaugural survey and conducted late last year, the 2022 results also found those who haven’t experienced discrimination in the industry tend to deny it exists while some respondents feel there is a lack of accountability for the perpetrators of forms of harassment.

The survey was launched in 2021 by the group Beer Agents for Change (now known as Drinks Agents for Change). With an intention to be run annually, its purpose is to reflect how the industry performs in terms of workplace experience and diversity and to help instigate meaningful change for future generations.

You can view an infographic displaying the 2022 results here.

With an even 48.1% male-to-female split in respondents (3.8% trans/non-binary/rather not say), 91% reported experiencing discrimination in relation to gender, sexuality, race, appearance and/or age in their careers, with 47% experiencing discrimination in the past year. In regard to gender, sexual, racial, based on appearance or age harassment, 57% reported experiencing this in their careers, with 15% saying it occurred in the past 12 months.

Of those who have experienced abuse or harassment based on gender, 93% identify as women.

Diversity in senior roles also remains unbalanced – with 40% of respondents saying less than 10% of women or non-binary people make up those positions in their organisation.

The survey did highlight that businesses with policies to address ethnic diversity were up from a third in 2021 to almost a half, while the amount who acknowledge indigenous custodians of land and names at key sites had doubled on the previous results.

Speaking with Beer & Brewer, survey co-founder and Pink Books Society Australia president Tiffany Waldron said those improvements were to be celebrated but that the major impediments to a more balanced and safe industry remain. (Tiffany is pictured above, second from left, with the other founders, from left: Jayne Lewis, Kirrily Waldhorn, Jessie Jungalwalla and Roxy Boubis.)

“Yes, there are definitely some things better, especially around more concrete initiatives like codes of conduct being adopted in workplaces… and the massive increase in the Acknowledgement of Country,” Tiffany said. “That says a lot and shows how you can do so much to show respect for another group of people.

“But I’m not going to lie, (the 2022 results) have been disheartening. Seeing a lack of action, getting silence and very few changes made since the 2021 survey, it’s not the outcomes we would have hoped for.

“The major plotline running through (the 2022 results) is that a big part of our industry don’t believe that there’s a problem and that denial is the biggest issue – as no one one’s willing to put the work in to make change if they don’t think there’s anything that needs to be changed.”

Another aspect of the 2022 results that echo the previous set of data is the desire from a majority of respondents for a whistleblower service to be established for the airing of negative workplace experiences. In the wake of that being highlighted in 2021, Tiffany said at the time such a platform was paramount but that it needed to be industry-driven. It’s a position she still holds a year and a half later.

“We still think it’s the one very tangible thing that would make people feel more safe working in the industry.

“If you look to the US, it is something that has been implemented in the past year by (their Brewers Association), the Pink Boots Society and a few other bodies. At (the Craft Brewers Conference) this year there was a third party service to use if you felt unsafe. The way to do it has been spelled out for us, it just needs that ownership and understanding of how important it is.”

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