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4725.0 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth, Apr 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/05/2012  Reissue
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Contents >> Paid Work >> Employment and wellbeing


PAID WORK: EMPLOYMENT AND WELLBEING

This article is part of a comprehensive series released as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth.


Note: In this section, the terms 'youth' and 'young people' refers to people aged 15–24 years. Data presented are from the ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 (cat. no. 4714.0).

KEY MESSAGES

In 2008, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in employment were less likely than those who were unemployed to:
  • have experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress in the four weeks before interview (27% compared with 38%)
  • be current daily smokers (37% compared with 50%).
Employed young people were also more likely to have completed Year 12 or a higher qualification than those who were unemployed (42% compared with 29%).

EMPLOYMENT AND SELECTED WELLBEING INDICATORS

According to the 2008 NATSISS, participation in paid work was associated with relatively low levels of psychological distress and reduced health risk factors.

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were in paid work were less likely than those who were unemployed to:
  • have experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress in the four weeks before interview (27% compared with 38%)
  • be current daily smokers (37% compared with 50%)
  • have personally experienced, or have friends or family members who experienced a stressor in the last 12 months (75% compared with 85%).
Further, young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in paid work were more likely than those who were unemployed to have completed Year 12 or a higher qualification (42% compared with 29%).

EMPLOYMENT AND CULTURAL RESPONSIBILITIES

Being able to meet cultural responsibilities can help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to maintain a positive work/life balance and to stay connected to their extended families and communities (Endnote 1). In 2008, 37% of employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–24 years said that their work allowed them to meet all of their cultural responsibilities, 15% reported that they were unable to meet all of their cultural responsibilities, and 47% said they did not have cultural responsibilities.

Among the 7,100 employed young people living in remote areas who said they had cultural responsibilities, 81% reported being able to meet them. Being able to meet cultural responsibilities was less common in non-remote areas, where 67% of the 17,500 employed young people with cultural responsibilities said that their work allowed them to meet these responsibilities.


ENDNOTES

1. Steve Larkins, Strengthening culture, strengthening identity: Keys to healing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and securing their social and emotional wellbeing, Family Relationships Quarterly No.17, September 2010, Australian Institute of Family Studies.



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