Media & Speeches

Census Jobs Data Reveals Indigenous Employment Gains

“New census data reveal a 76 per cent leap in the number of Indigenous professionals over the past
decade, complementing significant Indigenous job growth across industries,” Business Council chief
executive Jennifer Westacott said today.

“The data show a marked increase in Indigenous employment of up to 37 per cent in some
industries between 2011 and 2016.

"Among Business Council member companies there has been a 30 per cent increase in Indigenous
employment since 2014, and 60 per cent since 2012.

“These figures show large companies are working hand-in-hand with Indigenous communities across
our nation to create new economic and employment opportunities, from entry level roles and
management jobs through to opportunities for Indigenous businesses in supply chains.

“There are now over 20,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees at Business Council
companies, up from 12,000 in 2012.

“We’ve still got a long way to go, but this data confirms we are making progress and that business’s
focus on Indigenous engagement is generating results.”

“The new census data show Indigenous employment grew over 20 per cent between 2011 and 2016,
but some industries were especially successful in boosting their numbers of Indigenous employees.
These include construction, where Indigenous employment was up 37.5 per cent since 2011,
accommodation and food services (up 36.6 per cent), retail (up 33.4 per cent) and professional,
scientific and technical services (up 27.1 per cent).

“We’re encouraged that the number of Indigenous tertiary students has doubled since 2006 and year
12 completion rates are also improving. This means we’re growing the pipeline of future Indigenous
employees and business-owners,” Ms Westacott said.

“These figures show the commitment of companies like Woolworths, which has grown its Indigenous
workforce by 3,556 since 2015, and Coles which has gone from 65 Indigenous employees in in 2011
to 2,872 last financial year.

“We commend the federal government for taking the initiative with policies like the Employment
Parity Initiative and the Indigenous Procurement Policy that make it easier for businesses to improve
job prospects for Indigenous people.

“We want to see more Indigenous people sharing benefits of prosperity through better, higher paid
jobs that celebrate the dignity of work, and new opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs and
enterprises. Strong Australian businesses will be absolutely vital to achieving that.”

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