The focus of this paper is on the position of Aboriginal people over the age of 50 years in the labour market, as recorded in the 1986 Population Census. This group accounted for a smaller proportion of the adult Aboriginal population than this age group did in the Australian population in general. Aboriginal men and women in this age group were much less likely to be in paid employment than other Australians. In common with other Aboriginal people, those in employment were in less skilled occupations and were concentrated in the public sector and community services. The occupational distribution of these older Aboriginal people reflected much lower levels of educational attainment compared with other Australians. The paper includes a formal model of the determinants of labour force status for this group. The results show that after holding a range of factors constant, such as educational attainment, age, location of residence, and marital status, Aboriginality had a negative effect on the probability of being in full-time employment. Those with higher levels of education were more likely to be in full-time employment. An important issue for this age group, which requires further research using alternative data sources, is the effect of health status on the ability of people to participate in paid employment.
ISBN: 0 7315 1717 2