Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

ALIA releases GLAMR Workforce Diversity

Workforce Diversity Trend Report 2019, Australian Library and Information Association, August 2019


As President of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) for 2019-2020, I have chosen ‘leadership’ as my theme. This was because my own view, and that of many colleagues, is that we are not putting enough investment into the next generation of leaders.

However, I believe the issue for the Association going forward is not only about nurturing leaders, it is also about increasing diversity at all levels.

In summary, the data in this report reveals that the typical library and information sector and GLAMR (galleries, libraries, archives, museums and records) employee is an older white Australian female – a significant contrast to the total labour force.

ALIA was unable to source data about the level of diversity among library directors, managers, supervisors and staff, but you only have to look around to see that, once again, ‘older white Australians’ dominate the higher-level jobs.

So, the glaring question for the LIS sector is ‘What can we do to support a future workforce, and a future leadership, that reflects the diversity of the population we serve?’

These are just a few of the proactive strategies that I have found helpful to motivate and retain staff, build leadership capacity and embrace workforce diversity:

  • Promoting the library and information sector at every opportunity to achieve a broad understanding about how our work supports organisations; inspires and educates their users; changes the lives of people every day.
  • Telling the leaders of my organisation exactly how we contribute to the viability and success of the enterprise, and why we are completely indispensable.
  • Ensuring that our LIS enterprise is visible and well understood inside and outside your organisation.
  • Developing a proactive diversity in employment strategy.
  • Establishing a culture of mentorship and internal promotion. Coming up through the ranks of an organisation rewards great performance and builds morale.
  • Embracing an innovation and continuous improvement mindset that everyone owns.
  • Promoting succession planning across the organisation to ensure that information, skills and knowledge are retained within the workplace.
  • Encouraging a culture of ‘leadership from any position’ to support people at all levels of the organisation to become great leaders of the future.
  • Motivating, challenging and encouraging staff to create a workplace culture that makes people want to stay.

Together, we can ensure that a resilient, talented and diverse workforce will secure the future sustainability, prosperity and relevance of the library and information sector.

Read the full report here.

Robert Knight
ALIA President

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
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