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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010  
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Contents >> Education >> Education and employment


EDUCATION: EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT
This article is part of a comprehensive series released by as The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.



KEY MESSAGES

More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were fully engaged in work and/or study in 2008. Just over half (54%) of those aged 15–24 years were either working full-time, studying full-time, or both working and studying; up from 47% in 2002.

Higher levels of education attainment are associated with improved employment outcomes:
  • Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–64 years, 58% of those who had completed Year 12 were in full-time employment in 2008, compared with 24% of those who had left school at Year 9 or below.
  • Similarly, 60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–64 years who had completed a non-school qualification of Certificate III or above were in full-time employment compared with 29% of those without a non-school qualification.

This article presents the latest data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) to explore the links between education and employment. This topic covers:

THE TRANSITION FROM EDUCATION TO WORK

Young people's transition from school to continued study or full-time employment can have long-term implications. For example, those who are not fully engaged in either education and/or work (i.e.not in full-time work, full-time education or in a combination of part-time employment and part-time study) may be at risk of becoming long-term unemployed, underemployed or marginally attached to the labour force.

More than half (54%) of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 15–24 years were fully engaged in work and/or study in 2008, up from 47% in 2002. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males were more likely than females to be fully engaged in work/study (60% compared with 48%) as were people living in non-remote areas rather than in remote areas (58% compared with 41%).

The most recent data on the participation of non-Indigenous Australians in work/study is available from the Survey of Education and Work (Endnote 1). Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–24 years were less likely than non-Indigenous young people to have been fully engaged in work/study (54% compared with 83%) in 2008. Across the states and territories, there was relatively wide variation in the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous young people fully engaged in work/study. Reflecting increased access to educational institutions and mainstream employment opportunities in urban areas, the ACT had the highest proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people fully participating in education and/or work (75%), followed by Tasmania (67%), and Victoria (64%) (see graph 4.1).

4.1 FULLY ENGAGED IN WORK/STUDY(a), persons aged 15–24 years—2008
chart: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people aged 15–24 years fully engaged in work/study, by state/territory, 2008
(a) Employed full-time, studying full-time or both employed part-time and studying part-time.
(b) Estimates for non-Indigenous persons from the Survey of Education and Work were averaged across the 2008 and 2009 surveys.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 and 2009 Survey of Education and Work.
These estimates are also available for download in the Education datacube.


Education and employment

The positive effects that education can have on an individual's economic outcomes, particularly employment and income, have been well established (Endnote 2). Results from the 2008 NATSISS show that full-time employment is associated with higher levels of schooling. Across all age groups, except for those aged 55 years and over, people in full-time employment were more likely to have completed Year 10 or above, than to have left school at Year 9 or below (see graph 4.2). Completion of Year 12 is more strongly associated with full-time employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in younger age groups, with 43% of those aged 15-24 years, and 47% of those aged 25-34 years in full-time employment having completed Year 12, compared with 24% of those aged 35 years and over.

4.2 ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE IN FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT, by highest year of school completed(a)—2008
chart: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in full-time employment by highest year of school completed, by age group—2008
(a) Excludes persons still attending secondary school.
(b) Includes persons who never attended school.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.
These estimates are also available for download in the Education datacube.


The same pattern of association was evident among those who had completed a non-school qualification. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25-64 years who had attained a non-school qualification of a Certificate III or above were twice as likely as those without a non-school qualification to be employed full-time (60% compared with 29%) (see table 4.3).

Previous analysis has also shown that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with higher levels of educational attainment had higher incomes, on average, than those who had left school at lower grades (Endnote 3).


4.3 EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT, by labour force status, persons aged 25–64 years—2008

Employed

Not in the
Full-time
Total
Unemployed
labour force
Total

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Highest year of school completed
Year 9 or below(a)
%
23.9
38.4
10.1
51.5
100.0
Year 10/11
%
41.3
63.2
8.3
28.5
100.0
Year 12
%
57.9
79.1
5.7
15.2
100.0
Has cert III or above non-school qualification
%
60.0
80.1
5.9
14.0
100.0
Without a non-school qualification
%
29.2
47.1
9.1
43.8
100.0
Persons aged 25–64 years
'000
80.4
120.3
17.3
69.7
207.3

Non-Indigenous(b)
Highest year of school completed
Year 9 or below(c)
%
40.3
56.9
4.3
38.8
100.0
Year 10/11
%
56.5
76.5
3.4
20.1
100.0
Year 12
%
63.0
82.1
2.7
15.2
100.0
Has cert III or above non-school qualification
%
65.8
84.4
2.5
13.1
100.0
Without a non-school qualification
%
49.0
68.2
3.8
28.1
100.0
Persons aged 25–64 years
'000
6 391.1
8 488.7
338.8
2 113.3
1 940.8

(a) Includes those who never attended school.
(b) Estimates for non-Indigenous persons from the Survey of Education and Work were averaged across the 2008 and 2009 surveys.
(c) Includes those with no educational attainment/attendance.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 and 2009 Survey of Education and Work. These estimates are also available for download in the Education datacube.


Data on the participation of non-Indigenous Australians in the labour force is available from the Survey of Education and Work (Endnote 1). In 2008-09, the proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people aged 25–64 years who were employed (part-time and full-time combined) and had completed Year 12 were similar (79% compared with 82%). The difference in the full-time employment rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous with a Certificate III or above was 6 percentage points (60% compared with 66%). However, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people without a non-school qualification who were employed full-time was significantly lower than the corresponding rate for non-Indigenous people (29% compared with 49%).
ENDNOTES

1. Estimates for non-Indigenous persons from the Survey of Education and Work were averaged across the 2008 and 2009 surveys.

2. Biddle, N. 2006, 'Health benefits of education in Australia: Indigenous/non-Indigenous comparisons', The Economic and Labour Relations Review, vol. 17, no.1, pp.107-141.

3. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2008, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, cat. no. 4704.0, ABS, Canberra. <www.abs.gov.au>

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