Self-employment has been regarded as an important avenue for the social and economic advancement of some disadvantaged groups such as migrants. As measured by the census it has, however, remained of little importance to Aboriginal people. In 1986, only 1.3 per cent of the Aboriginal working-age population was self-employed compared with 10 per cent of other Australians of working age.
This paper presents a comparison of the characteristics of the Aboriginal self-employed with those of Aboriginal wage and salary earners and the self-employed among the rest of the Australian population. In comparison with other Aborigines in employment, the major differences were in the industry and occupation of employment. Self-employed Aborigines were more likely to be working as tradespersons and to work in the private sector than were Aboriginal wage and salary earners. Compared with other self-employed Australians, self-employed Aborigines were less educated and were more likely to be found in the lower-skilled occupations. The census figures only present a partial picture of Aboriginal entrepreneurial activity for a number of reasons. These are outlined in the final section.
ISBN: 0 7315 1713 X