Diversity in the Air Force

Diversity in Air Force

Diversity in Air ForceAir Force is an equal employer of all Australians. Air Force is proud to have a diverse workforce that brings a range of experiences and qualifications to the work place.

Air Force’s ability to deliver airpower in the future will depend on us having the best people for the wide range of Air Force jobs, regardless of gender, age or culture.  We need to ‘future-proof’ Air Force with targeted programs to attract, recruit and retain the very best people.

We need to make sure the young men and women finishing school have at some point along the way thought that Air Force would be a great place to work, because they would be looked after, they would be excited, they would see long-term security and have a sense of being proud to wear the uniform,” Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies said. 

Once we get them to make that decision and feel this is a place they want to be for some time, we need to assure them that the work they are doing is important. To pay them, to house them, to educate them and to make them feel they are valued. 

To let them know it does not matter whether you are tall or short, what religious background you come from, what colour your skin is, whether you are a man or women or in specialisation A or B, that everyone gets a fair go at a rewarding career. 

Air Force has developed and implemented a range of diversity initiatives to help personnel have equal access to opportunities. Our diversity initiatives are constantly under review to be relevant, timely and inclusive.



Gender diversity

Diversity in the Air Force

As at February 2017 women represent 19.9% of our Air Force personnel.

Air Force initiatives to increase gender diversity target all segments of the workforce including education and personal development opportunities especially for women. 

In September 2014, Air Force held its second Women's Development Forum with the theme Capability through Inclusion. This forum built on the foundation of the 2012 inaugural forum themed Surviving and Thriving in Non-Traditional Employment. The forums provide the opportunity for participants to engage with Air Force senior leaders and provide networking and development opportunities for both men and women.

From January 2015 women have been able to serve in all positions in Air Force. Previously the Airfield Defence Guards and Ground Defence Officer roles were not open to women. As part of the overall implementation plan for the removal of combat restrictions women was initially restricted to in-service transfers from currently serving women. Direct entry recruitment for these roles commenced in January 2016.


Indigenous participation

Diversity in the Air Force

As of February 2017 Indigenous Australians represent 1.2% of our Air Force personnel.

Specialist recruiting and retention initiatives are employed to attract, train and retain indigenous people from remote, regional and urban localities throughout Australia. For example, the Indigenous Undergraduate Scheme provides a number of university sponsorship positions each year with follow on Air Force employment.

Our Land, Our Skies is an Air Force strategy that defines appropriate pathways for indigenous participation. The strategy respects the importance of indigenous connections to people and place.


Ethnic participation and country of birth

Diversity in the Air Force

Reflecting our multicultural Australian society, Air Force is represented by 13 major ethnic regions including 'Australian' and 5 per cent of our workforce is bilingual. We are proud to have a diverse workforce and continue to develop strategies to increase ethnic diversity.



Religious participation

Religious participationAir Force members identify with 50 recognised religions and members are served by the Air Force Chaplaincy Branch comprising chaplains from ten denominations.

The Air Force uniform is one of the traditions of RAAF service, creating a sense of belonging and pride for Air Force members. Air Force uniform options include turbans for members of the Sikh faith; and Hijabs for members of the Muslim faith.

No matter which uniform our Air Force members wear, they wear their uniform with pride, and inherit a proud tradition that was established by the generations before us.


Members from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community

Diversity in the Air Force

Air Force actively supports members of the LGBTI community through a range of measures. Air Force has worked hard to develop inclusive policies and entitlements that are not limited by member's gender, personal circumstances or sexual orientation.  Air Force actively supports personnel attendance at conferences and GLBTI community events, and has developed a guide which provides practical advice and support for LGBTI members in Air Force. 

Ongoing engagement and cooperation with the external, wider Defence LGBTI community group 'DEFGLIS', who can be contacted via their own website www.defglis.com.au, is an integral aspect of Air Force's ongoing diversity strategy.


Age participation

Diversity in the Air Force

Air Force has expanded its recruiting and retention policies to incorporate a wider range of ages in the workplace.

Phased retirement initiatives are in place to encourage retention of experienced personnel. Older personnel can share their knowledge through reserve service after they reach the retirement age of 60, until 65.


Related links

Women in the Air Force

Women in the Australian Defence Force