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Indian Diaspora in Australia Faces Disparity in Leadership Roles, Reveals Survey


The survey report titled “Victorians’ Perception on India and the Indian Diaspora,” spearheaded by the Australia India Institute was officially unveiled by Hon Lisa Singh, CEO of AII, in the presence of distinguished members of the Indian community, academics, Indian Consul General Dr. Sushil Kumar, and contributors to the state-wide survey.

A comprehensive statewide survey “Victorians’ Perception on India and the Indian Diaspora,” was conducted to delve into the perspectives and experiences of Victorians concerning the Indian diaspora and the rapport between Victoria and India. This endeavor received funding from The Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victorian Government.

The Indian diaspora, ranked as the second fastest-growing migrant group in Australia, encounters challenges in securing representation in leadership positions within Victoria’s industry and politics, despite their acknowledged positive contributions across various sectors.

Acknowledging the crucial role played by various stakeholders, the Australia India Institute expressed its gratitude to the Survey Steering Group. Comprising esteemed organizations such as the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Global Victoria, the Victorian Multicultural Commission, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, and the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economics and Social Research, Faculty of Finance and Business, University of Melbourne, this group’s invaluable contributions to the design and execution of the survey tool have been instrumental in collecting insightful data on this pertinent subject matter.

The Institute extended special thanks to Prof. Abigail Payne and Dr. Kushneel Prakash of the Melbourne Institute, Applied Economic & Social Research, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne in the report highlighting their expertise in designing all graphical elements of the survey report and reviewing its drafts have significantly contributed to shaping the final outcome.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Victoria is home to approximately 270,000 people of Indian origin, highlighting the significant presence of the community in the state.

The survey, encompassing insights from 2,500 individuals of Indian origin in Victoria, explores various aspects of the diaspora’s involvement, including their participation in events, leadership during crises, employment barriers, and representation in decision-making bodies.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Survey of 2,500 individuals of Indian origin
  • Disparities in representation of Indians in leadership roles in industry and politics
  • Positive contribution of 60% of Indian international students
  • 50% expressing a desire for increased involvement in Indian events and affairs
  • India ranking as the second-largest source of migrants to Australia
  • Predominance of skilled Indian migrants
  • Demonstrated leadership by Indians during crises in the state
  • Employment scenario favoring Australian citizens over individuals of Indian descent
  • Indian diaspora constituting 40% of the country’s Indian community
  • 28% of businesses exhibiting reluctance to hire Indians
  • Doubling of travel to and from India despite high costs
Hon Lisa Singh, CEO of AII

Lisa Singh, the chief executive of the Australia India Institute, remarked, “With the support of the Victorian government, our Indian diaspora networks have become a dynamic and enterprising part of the fabric of Victorian society. Their roles in being gateways to greater opportunities for social and economic collaboration in Victoria are held in high regard.”

However, despite their significant contributions, over 80% of survey respondents lamented the lack of visibility of Indian Australian figures in senior policymaking roles, universities, major corporations, and industry bodies. Many highlighted the existence of “glass ceilings” and other barriers hindering the advancement of individuals of Indian origin into leadership positions.

“This landmark report on the Indian diaspora could not be more timely. We needed it to better understand this burgeoning part of the Victorian community and shape policy discussions to promote a more inclusive Victoria,” Lisa Singh emphasized.

For over a decade, the Australia India Institute has established itself as a leading convener of bilateral dialogues and a respected authority providing expert advice and policy analysis on India. Renowned for its high-quality research, advocacy efforts, and extensive stakeholder network, the Institute is highly regarded as a valuable partner.

Founded in 2008 with initial funding from the Australian Government, the Australia India Institute boasts founding partnerships with esteemed institutions such as the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, and the University of New South Wales. Since its establishment, the Institute has received continued support from the Australian and Victorian Governments, as well as other sources, allowing it to remain dedicated to the comprehensive study of India, fostering understanding of contemporary India in Australia, and nurturing the development of the bilateral relationship between the two nations.

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