This paper describes the detailed industry composition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce and measures the extent to which it differs from that of the rest of the workforce. For this purpose, 1986 Census data on industry division and class of employment are used and inter- and intra-industry segregation indexes are calculated. This reveals for the first time the precise industry mix which characterises the Aboriginal labour market. At the broad level of industry divisions, the degree of employment segregation between Aborigines, Islanders and others in the workforce appears to have decreased over time, although problems exist in deriving a satisfactory index to measure temporal changes in segregation. However, at the more disaggregated intra-industry level, using data for a single census year, clear patterns of relative employment concentration and exclusion in particular industry classes are in evidence. These patterns are discussed for male and female Aborigines and Islanders in each industry class with the conclusion that the bulk of Aboriginal and Islander employment is supported by a very narrow industry base which is dependent to a large extent on public sector expenditure.
ISBN: 0 7315 1365 7