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4713.0 - Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/05/2010  Final
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Contents >> Work >> Employment


In the 2006 Census, 46% of Indigenous people aged 15 years and over were employed (employment to population ratio), compared with 42% in the 2001 Census. A higher proportion of men (51%) were employed than women (41%).

Non-Indigenous people were more likely than Indigenous people to be employed. In the 2006 Census, with 62% of non-Indigenous people aged 15 years and over employed, compared with 59% in 2001.

The proportion of Indigenous people employed was higher in Major Cities (50%) than in other geographic areas (Very Remote 45%, Inner Regional 44%, Remote 44%, Outer Regional 44%).

Employed people

Of Indigenous people who were employed in the 2006 Census:

  • 93% were employees, 6% worked in their own business and 1% were contributing family workers
  • 74% were employed in the private sector, and one quarter (26%) worked in the public sector
  • over half (57%) worked full-time, 39% worked part-time hours and 4% did not work in the week prior to the Census
  • more than half (59%) worked in low skill occupations, while one in five (22%) were in medium skill occupations and one in seven (15%) in high skill occupations
  • 33% who were employed and not also attending school had completed Year 10 and 31% had completed Year 12
  • more than one-third (37%) reported having a non-school qualification.

Worked in own business

In 2006, 6,800 or 6% of employed Indigenous people indicated they worked in their own business. This compares with 17% of employed non-Indigenous people. The proportion of employed Indigenous people who worked in their own business was highest in Major Cities (7%) and lowest in Very Remote areas (2%). In contrast, the proportion of employed non-Indigenous people who worked in their own business was similar across remoteness areas.

Worked in own business by remoteness areas(a)(b)
Graph: Worked in own business by remoteness areas(a)(b)

Hours worked

Employed Indigenous people were more likely than employed non-Indigenous people to have worked part-time hours in the week prior to the 2006 Census (39% and 30% respectively). Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women were more likely to have worked part time hours (49% and 45% respectively), than Indigenous and non-Indigenous men (31% and 17%).

Over one-third (36%) of employed Indigenous people worked 40 or more hours in the week prior to Census, compared with almost half (49%) of non-Indigenous people. In the reference week, 57% of Indigenous people worked full-time hours, with males (66%) more likely than females (46%) to work full-time hours. In comparison, 66% of non-Indigenous people worked full-time hours in the same week. Again, males (79%) were more likely than females (51%) to work full-time hours.

Hours Worked(a)(b)
Graph: Hours Worked(a)(b)

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