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Diversity and Inclusion at Panthera Finance Group

4 September 2020

At Panthera Finance Group, we believe that promoting and fostering diversity and inclusion in our workplace is not only the right thing to do, but is also the right thing for our business – and our employees.

There are fundamental, practical, and financial reasons for fostering diversity that complement the rationale associated with social responsibility and equity.

Panthera Finance Group has thousands of unique individual customers across Australia, representing all demographic groups.

It’s the same with our employees.

A diverse and inclusive workforce is particularly important for a company like Panthera, enabling us to match and mirror our customers, ensuring that we communicate in a way that results in the best possible experience.

For the third year in a row, we have conducted our Diversity Survey, which has confirmed a highly diverse and engaged workforce.

Some of the key findings from the survey are:

  • Our employees identify as coming from 47 different countries
  • Forty-five per cent of our employees were born overseas
  • Our employees speak 38 different languages
  • Six per cent of our employees identify as having some type of disability

This year, in addition to diversity demographics, we put significant focus on measuring how all employees felt with regards to inclusion.

Our belief is that inclusion is arguably more important than the diversity of the workforce. There is not much point in having a diverse workforce if the employees don’t feel included and welcomed in the workplace.

Fortunately, our results on this component of the survey were highly encouraging.

When we asked our employees to rate the workplace, the responses with the highest rating were:
People of all cultures and backgrounds are respected and valued here

  • I feel included and respected here
  • Racial, ethnic, and gender-based denigration is not tolerated here
  • I can be successful as my authentic self here
  • My company enables me to balance my work and personal life

A key component to our future diversity initiatives includes a continuing commitment to providing employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

To support this goal, Panthera Finance Group has started to connect with community groups.

We caught up with one of our Indigenous employees, Shikirah, from General Collections to discuss her experience at Panthera Finance Group.

Employee Spotlight – Shikirah Kyle:

Tell us more about your background as an Indigenous Australian?

Born and raised in Cairns, I grew up in a large family with a lot of cousins, a brother and a sister. In my immediate family I’m the eldest of three. On my mother’s side, my people are rainforest and ocean people. On my grandmother’s side, my mob are Mandingalbay Yidinji from the south of Cairns region and on my grandfather’s side, my mob are Birri Gabbu from the Bowen region.

Are there any cultural or religious traditions that you feel have been useful in your work?

A big part of our culture is connections to our ancestors and spirituality. One of our customs is for your elders to give you a language name and an animal totem to walk through life with you and to guide and protect you.

We’re taught from a very young age to respect and love our country. In our way, our country is our family, our provider and we take great care of her and she returns that care to us. The most important saying among our people is “the country does not belong to us, we belong to country.”

Within our people’s history we are very visual, and our history is a spoken history for our people. Traditionally children are taught by doing, so, from the moment we can walk we’re introduced to our history.

How have you found the Panthera experience?

I can honestly say I am very lucky to have understanding and inclusive people to work with. It’s been a bit of a slow process as I have always learnt by doing because of my upbringing. I appreciate being given the opportunity to explain this to my management and have nothing but acceptance, patience and support from management and my co-workers. Everybody, new or long term, has been welcoming and supportive. I’m still getting to know everyone but so far, it’s just been great!

Do you feel like your background and upbringing may have been different to that of your colleagues?

Growing up, a big part of my upbringing was witnessing my elders fight for country. Throughout my upbringing I remember my elders, uncles and aunties, battling in the courts for native entitlement and for our people to be recognised as the traditional custodians of our land and sea. Finally, in 2010, that dream became a reality with our mob being given determination as the traditional owners of our country Buddabadoo. It was both a monumental day and sad as those who started the process were not able to witness the decision handed down. But our people celebrated in remembrance of our ancestors who fought for our people and our country.

Have you ever felt like your culture has helped you relate with or communicate with customers?

When given the chance by customers, my culture helps me come from an understanding of family, in particular with our customers from other cultures.

Do you feel that as an individual, Panthera accepts and values your voice and opinion?

Absolutely. While I have only been at Panthera for a short time, I have been supported, given understanding and cheered on by everyone I have contact with. The encouragement from management and staff is awesome and I absolutely could not have asked for more!

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