While recent research has found that there has been a substantial increase in Indigenous mainstream employment since the mid-1990s, there has been relatively little regional analysis of mainstream employment or the extent to which the nature of Indigenous employment has altered in what has been a period of substantial change in the Australian labour market. The aim of this paper is to build on the existing research using the 2006 and 2011 Censuses to provide a more disaggregated analysis of any changes in the nature of labour market outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
One of the new findings in this paper is that the employment of Indigenous youth (15–24 years) in remote areas is lower than that of Indigenous youth in non-remote areas, but older Indigenous residents in remote and non-remote areas have more similar employment rates.
While the mining boom has had a positive impact on some Indigenous people, in national terms the vast majority of the increases in Indigenous employment between 2006 and 2011 have been in other industries.
There is no magic bullet in closing the employment gap between Indigenous and other Australians. Policy needs to facilitate Indigenous participation in the mainstream economy by assisting Indigenous people to be work-ready, especially improving the skills of the Indigenous population so that they are matched to those required by employers.