Publications With Insight

Anti-Discrimination NSW – Final Report

The Insight Centre conducted research on behalf of Anti-Discrimination NSW (ADNSW) on the enablers and barriers of recruiting staff from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in the public service. The project focused on recruitment in the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) as a case study, but findings have relevance for other public service contexts.  

The project included three phases: (1) a systematic literature review, (2) mixed-method research of job seekers form CALD communities (survey and in-depth interviews) and (3) in-depth interviews with hiring managers. This report synthesises findings and insights from phases two and three. 

The report outlines key insights from consultations with job seekers and employers as well as seven strategic recommendations, which highlight a range of opportunities for leadership within DCJ and the public service more broadly to consider improvements to recruitment processes and the supports available to CALD applicants. It also includes four case studies of best practice inclusive employers – IKEA, John Holland, the City of Sydney and Violet Co Legal & Consulting. 

Anti-Discrimination NSW – Literature review

Anti-Discrimination NSW commissioned The Insight Centre to complete a systematic literature review on inclusive recruitment for culturally and racially marginalised groups with a focus on the public service sector.

The report we developed consists of two parts. First, it synthesises and analyses relevant research, both Australian and international, on the barriers and discrimination faced by culturally and racially marginalised groups when accessing the job market. Second, it outlines the research evidence on strategies that employers can deploy to ensure that their recruitment processes are inclusive and accessible for diverse communities. 

The review showed that while the barriers encountered by culturally and racially marginalised candidates in the recruitment process are well-established and supported by a wealth of evidence, the pathways to effective solutions are less uniform, often lacking consensus and empirical validation. 

Energy Consumers Australia – Research Summary

There is an endless amount of energy information available to consumers. However, despite the proliferation of energy education campaigns, according to Energy Consumers Australia’s latest Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey (ECSS) data, two in five Australians do not feel there is enough easily understood information available for them to make decisions about energy. This matters because when consumers feel that they have received clear information about the impacts of the energy transition, they feel more in control of how they can make a difference to their energy bills. 

Energy Consumers Australia commissioned The Insight Centre to investigate the key elements to running a successful energy campaign for consumers and to develop key principles for effective communication to energy consumers. The report includes a review of existing audience research, the broader communications landscape, and learnings from international energy-related campaigns.

Smarter Justice

A ‘tough on crime’ approach has long dominated justice policy and media narratives in the Northern Territory.


Our report, Smarter Justice: A Better Way of Doing Justice in the Northern Territory, demonstrates how this approach is failing to achieve the outcome of safer communities. Prepared for the Northern Territory Aboriginal Justice Agreement Governance Committee, the report outlines the strong evidence that community-based and culturally responsive justice approaches are more effective in achieving a reduction in reoffending and in preventing crime.


The report also outlines market research conducted with NT residents which demonstrates that many Territorians are disillusioned with ‘tough on crime’ policies and want to see alternative justice approaches. It also offers insights into effective programs that cost less and achieve better long-term results for individuals and the community.

NSW Public Libraries Association – learning starts at the local library

New South Wales is facing significant and concerning declines in childhood literacy levels, falling behind both national and OECD benchmarks. This puts the state at risk of significant and long-term negative social and economic consequences.


Our report Learning Starts at the Local Library analyses the most up-to-date data on childhood and adult literacy to show the extent of the looming literacy crisis facing NSW, and to outline the consequences of not urgently addressing declining literacy standards.


The evidence presented in the report, prepared for the NSW Public Libraries Association, demonstrates that with the right strategies and resourcing, the public library system is ideally placed to develop enhanced early literacy initiatives in NSW to solve the state’s literacy crisis.

Incolink – Building the Future

The Victorian construction industry is facing challenges meeting its future workforce needs. In our Building the Futurereport for Incolink, Australia’s largest and most comprehensive workers’ entitlement scheme, we provide a detailed analysis of how investing in attracting and retaining women in the Victorian construction industry is central to meeting future workforce demands.


Our modelling projects that a modest annual growth target for women’s participation of just 0.4% will mean that by 2040, almost 20% of the construction workforce will be women. This growth could fill 26,000 forecast vacancies.


Our survey of the experiences of female construction workers in Victoria finds that most feel positive about their careers in the industry but want to see more flexible and family friendly opportunities in construction.

Professionals Australia – Engineering a better future

Australia is facing a period of unprecedented levels of investment into major infrastructure projects, and large-scale transformations to many areas of the economy, including the energy and transport sectors. Meeting these challenges requires significant investment into strengthening and growing the engineering workforce.

Our report for Professionals Australia, a union representing the interests of professional employees, presents new modelling of the supply and demand for national engineering skills that predicts a skills gap of 200,000 by 2040. This unprecedented mismatch between demand and supply will leave key roles vacant and place unsustainable pressure on the existing engineering workforce.

Our analysis reveals that targeted interventions are required at the state and federal levels to bolster the Australian engineering workforce now and in the future.

Feeling the Pinch: How Low Wage Growth and Rising Prices are Impacting Private Sector Clerical and Administrative Workers

The first half of 2022 saw Australia’s first interest rate rise in more than a decade, alongside dramatic increases to the cost of groceries and fuel. Australian workers grappled with the biggest gap between income growth and inflation in decades.

Feeling the Pinch, prepared for the Australian Services Union, reports on a survey of clerical and administrative workers – a feminized and often undervalued workforce ­ – to understand how they are faring under these conditions.

Overall, the survey data reveals that these workers feel significantly impacted by wage and cost of living pressures. Very few feel they are living comfortably on their current income. Many are worried about the affordability of basics like food, fuel and healthcare and are reluctant to spend limited income on leisure and entertainment.

We also found that clerical wages are being further eroded by unpaid overtime and increased household costs associated with working from home.


The fines system is the most likely way that a Victorian will have contact with the justice system with more than 4.3 million fines issued in 2018-19. Fines play a vital role in providing an incentive to discourage behaviour that negatively affects our community’s safety and wellbeing.

The benefits of this system also result in challenges: fines are concentrated by postcode and some people are amassing thousands of dollars in fines and penalties that will be unable to be paid leading to an increased engagement with the criminal justice system. This is having a detrimental effect on the individual and the broader community and has a long-lasting effect especially on vulnerable people. An initial toll road fee can be as low as $2 which can turn into $382.82 in penalties.

Accessible pathways, practical reforms, and alternatives to deeper engagement with the criminal justice system are discussed in this paper which has been submitted to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Criminal Justice System.

Incolink – A cost benefit analysis of on-site vaccinations

The construction industry is critical to Australia’s economy, but it is particularly exposed to COVID-19 because the vast majority of work is completed onsite.

In 2020, the construction industry worked together to protect workers, families, and the economy from COVID-19—now in 2021, the industry is ready to quickly and safely conduct onsite vaccinations.

Our report prepared for Incolink, Australia’s oldest, largest and most comprehensive workers’ entitlement scheme, shows for the huge cost of lockdowns to the construction industry, as well as the overwhelming case for onsite vaccinations.

A Retirement That Never Comes

A Retirement That Never Comes analyses the long-term impact of de-investment in Australia’s superannuation system.

It assesses the cost of delaying Australia’s legislated superannuation increases and forecasts the impact on the retirement prospects of various worker-groups.

The State of the Incarceration Nation

The State of the Incarceration Nation report was prepared for the Justice Reform Initiative, which is a collaboration of some of Australia’s most respected experts on criminal justice, led by two former Governor Generals and including former Attorneys General, Premiers, Ministers and Justices of the High Court of Australia.

The report looks at the dimensions of Australia’s rising prison population, the key drivers of that growth and the communities most affected.

It unearths Australia’s dismal standing against similar nations and the rising cost to the Australian taxpayer.

Obesity Collective – State of the Nation

Obesity is one of the greatest health challenges facing Australia, growing at an alarming rate over the past decade despite improving awareness about the health impacts.

The Obesity Collective – an alliance of more than 100 research, corporate and advocacy organisations – came together to rouse action on the issue.

Our report Weighing In: Australia’s growing obesity epidemic outlined the scale of the problem, the impact on the community and the economic cost of inaction.