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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

CUSTOMARY AND PAID WORK

CUSTOMARY WORK

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have traditionally engaged in a range of customary activities like hunting, fishing and gathering bush foods. These activities have both an economic and ritual importance.

In 2008, almost half (45%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged three years and over had participated in fishing in the previous year, one in five (21%) had participated in hunting, and an estimated one in six (16%) had gathered wild plants/berries. Reflecting greater accessibility to land and natural resources, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to have been fishing (58% compared with 41%), hunting (51% compared with 11%), and gathering wild plants/berries (36% compared with 10%) (graph 3.28). Nationally, a higher proportion of males than females had been fishing (54% compared with 36%) and hunting (28% compared with 15%).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also engaged in a range of other cultural activities which, in some cases, may have generated income. These included making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and crafts (21%), writing and telling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories (15%) and participating in music, dance or theatre (14%). Females were more likely than males to have made Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts or crafts (24% compared with 18%) and to have been involved in story-telling activities (16% compared with 13%).

3.28 PARTICIPATION IN SELECTED CULTURAL ACTIVITIES, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 3 years and over



EMPLOYMENT

Participation in the labour force is seen as being closely related to increased income levels, better health outcomes, improved educational attainment and enhanced self-esteem. According to the 2008 NATSISS, almost two-thirds (65%) of the 311,100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–64 years were participating in the labour force, similar to the rate in 2002 (63%) (table 3.29). A higher proportion of males than females were participating in the labour force in 2008 (75% compared with 55%), and overall participation rates were higher in non-remote areas than in remote areas (66% compared with 62%).

The proportion of employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people increased significantly from 48% in 2002 to 54% in 2008, due to improved rates for both males (from 56% to 63%) and females (from 41% to 46%). Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–64 years in 2008, males were twice as likely as females to be working full-time (45% compared with 22%).

The unemployment rate (unemployed people as a proportion of those participating in the labour force) decreased for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 23% in 2002 to 17% in 2008. Just over one-quarter of unemployed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (26%) had experienced long-term unemployment (52 weeks or more) in 2008, with no significant variation in the rates for males and females, or between remote and non-remote areas.

3.29 LABOUR FORCE STATUS, BY SEX AND REMOTENESS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–64 years—2008
Males
Females
Non-remote areas
Remote areas
Australia
%
%
%
%
%

Employed
Full-time
44.5
21.9
34.2
28.2
32.8
Part-time
18.2
23.7
20.0
24.2
21.1
Total employed(a)
62.7
45.6
54.3
52.4
53.8
Unemployed(a)(b)
12.2
9.4
11.2
9.2
10.7
Long-term unemployed(a)(c)
3.1
2.5
2.9
2.6
2.8
Total in the labour force(d)
74.9
55.0
65.5
61.5
64.5
Not in the labour force
25.1
45.0
34.5
38.5
35.5
no.
no.
no.
no.
no.
Persons aged 15–64 years
149 200
161 900
234 500
76 600
311 100
Unemployment rate(a)(c)(e)
16.3
17.1
17.2
14.9
16.6

(a) Difference between non-remote and remote rate is not statistically significant.
(b) Includes the long-term unemployed (persons who were continuously unemployed for 52 weeks or more).
(c) Difference between male and female rate is not statistically significant.
(d) Persons who were either employed, or unemployed and looking for work.
(e)The proportion of the labour force that was unemployed.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.


Occupation

Almost one-quarter (24%) of employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were classified (according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2006) as Labourers in 2008 (table 3.30). A further one in six (17%) were classified as Community and personal service workers, 13% were Professionals, 13% were Technicians and trades workers, and 12% were Clerical and administrative workers. The proportions of people employed in various occupations differed according to remoteness and gender. A higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were employed as Labourers in remote areas (29%) than in non-remote areas (22%), while in non-remote areas, people were more commonly employed as Clerical and administrative workers and Sales workers than was the case in remote areas. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males were more likely than females to be employed as Technicians and trades workers (21% compared with 3%), Machinery operators and drivers (16% compared with 2%) or Labourers (29% compared with 17%). In contrast, a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females than males were Clerical and administrative workers (21% compared with 5%), Community and personal service workers (25% compared with 10%), Sales workers (11% compared with 3%) and Professionals (16% compared with 10%).


3.30 OCCUPATION IN MAIN JOB(a) BY SEX, Employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–64 years—2008
Occupation
Males
%
Females
%
Persons
%

Managers(b)
5.0
4.9
5.0
Professionals
9.7
16.1
12.5
Technicians and trades workers
21.3
3.3
13.4
Community and personal service workers
10.1
25.2
16.8
Clerical and administrative workers
4.7
21.0
11.9
Sales workers
3.3
10.7
6.6
Machinery operators and drivers
15.9
1.9
9.7
Labourers
29.4
16.7
23.7
no.
no.
no.
Employed persons aged 15–64 years(c)
93 500
73 900
167 400

(a) According to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), First Edition, 2006.
(b) Difference between male and female rate is not statistically significant.
(c) Includes persons for whom occupation was inadequately described.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.


Paid work 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. In 2008, a considerable proportion (44%) of employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–64 years said that their work allowed them to meet all their cultural responsibilities, 23% reported that they were unable to meet all their cultural responsibilities, and 32% said they did not have cultural responsibilities. Of the 112,500 employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who said they had cultural responsibilities, 66% said that their work allowed them to meet these responsibilities (60% in non-remote areas and 79% in remote areas).


BARRIERS TO FINDING WORK

In 2008, most unemployed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (89%) had experienced difficulties while looking for work and 67% had made use of employment services. Nationally, just over one-third of unemployed people reported Lack of jobs (35%) or Insufficient education/training or skills (34%) as difficulties faced when looking for work. Other common difficulties faced by unemployed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were Transport problems/distance (31%) and No driver's licence (18%).

Difficulties experienced while looking for work differed for unemployed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote and non-remote areas (graph 3.31). People in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to have reported Lack of jobs (59% compared with 29%), but were less likely than those in non-remote areas to have cited Insufficient education/training or skills (22% compared with 37%) or Transport problems/distance (23% compared with 33%) as difficulties experienced while looking for work.


3.31 MOST COMMON DIFFICULTIES FINDING WORK(a), Unemployed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15-64 years

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.


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