My father arrived in Port Melbourne at 19 years of age as a political refugee from Italy back in the late 1940’s He told me if was difficult back then as it was like playing a game without anyone telling you the rules. There were no other options as he couldn’t go back. He was here and he just had to make it work.

I wonder if this has changed in Australia today?

I found this quote about one of our times most successful men

“Bill Gates wouldn’t get a job in Australia because he has no local experience.” Anonymous

I started to investigate a little more….

“Employers appear worried about the communication skills of skilled immigrants.” Ian Little, the author of Project Australia

“If an Indian interviewee, for example, does not make ‘appropriate’ levels of eye contact with an Australian interviewer, they can interpret that as a lack confidence or not being truthful. But the interviewee might not look into the interviewer’s eye out of respect.” Aparna Hebbani, an academic and researcher into intercultural communication in interviews at the University of Queensland

“There is evidence that many international newly-graduated students have communication and language skills that are a poor fit to the needs of business.” Dr Tony Burch, a PhD Fellow in the institute of teaching and learning at Deakin University

Australia in 2017 has in excess of half a million Indian nationals working at every level of organisations and across every industry – professional services, accounting, hospitality, administration, transport, manufacturing, energy, renewables and sales.

In addition, thousands of Indians (and students from other cultures) are studying in Australia. Many find it hard to get employment after graduating.

Indian migrants and students in Australia are high achievers with great potential. It is clear however that many Indian nationals face difficulties settling into and succeeding in the Australian way of life.

As Melbourne grows into Australia’s largest city I am wondering who is showing leadership in the way we are dealing with cultural diversity?

My father as an Italian migrate in the beginning found it very difficult to “fit in” to a culture he didn’t understand. It was not from lack of wanting to understand it was from the lack of explanation.

There are no poor students only poor teachers…..As leaders understanding that different is neither “good” or “bad” it’s just different – this is a great starting point.

We need to start as Australia is growing fast….how are you taking the first steps?

What to do next you might (secretly) ask?

Leadership programs do not need to be expensive or drain huge amounts of money from your training budget. Start with a small step and test what it can do for you, your staff and your market. It offers a step to understanding Cultural Diversity in the workplace. An Extended DISC profile and unpack is relatively low cost, low amount of time and offers great results.