New First Nations workforce analysis reports released

This story was first published on Wednesday 21 June 2023.

If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

Jobs and Skills Australia has released two reports relating to First Nations employment and educational outcomes, the First Nations Workforce Analysis, and findings from a survey of Employers’ experiences of First Nations job applicants.

First Nations Workforce Analysis

The First Nations Workforce Analysis finds that while gaps still exist for the community in employment and education, particularly in remote areas, a number of positive trends are emerging.

In the 5 years to 2022, the number of First Nations People working as Contract, Program and Project Administrators increased by 42% nationally. Other occupations which saw strong First Nations growth included Welfare Support Workers (33%), Aged and Disabled Carers (31%) and Child Carers (22%).

Public Administration was the highest employing industry, and the number of First Nations people working in it increased by 27% between February 2020 and May 2022. This trend, along with a lower reliance on hospitality jobs, helped First Nations employment recover more quickly than non-Indigenous employment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report also drills down into patterns of employment growth by age and region. In metropolitan areas there was strong First Nations growth among Plumbers (25%); whereas in regional and remote areas, the number of First Nations people working as Drillers, Miners and Shot Firers increased by 32%.

The report also finds that many First Nations people are employed in community service occupations which are projected to see high growth over the next 5 years, such as Aged and Disabled Carers, Welfare Support Workers and Education Aides.

In terms of education, First Nations tertiary education attainment was proportionately lower than for non-Indigenous people, particularly in remote areas; but, encouragingly, First Nations people with qualifications in high-demand fields were likely to be working in a role directly relevant to their study. For example, 71% of First Nations people who studied education were employed in an occupation which utilised these skills.

Employers’ experiences of First Nations job applicants, findings from the Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey

Jobs and Skills Australia’s Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey (of around 1,000 employers each month) sought views about their experiences with First Nations job applicants and the kinds of strategies and programs employers typically used to assist successful First Nations applicants into the workplace.

The survey found that First Nations applicants have a 70% success rate when applying for jobs and 93% of businesses who hired a First Nations applicant said the person had adjusted well in the workplace.

Some 52% of businesses used strategies to assist First Nations applicants to transition into the job, with a buddy or mentoring system being most common. However, employers rarely adopted strategies such as Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) or cultural competency training for staff. Large businesses were more likely to adopt transition strategies (68%) than medium sized and small businesses (50% and 49%, respectively).

Ten per cent of businesses accessed programs and subsidies when employing a First Nations applicant. The 93% success rate of job transitions cited by businesses suggests the lack of uptake of programs or subsidies is not having an impact on the successful transition of job applicants. Medium to small businesses were more likely to access a program and/or subsidy (12% and 11%, respectively) than large businesses (5%).

Even though the transitions of applicants into small business’ workplaces are good (92%), First Nations applicants are less likely to be successful in getting a job in small businesses (61% of applicants) compared to medium to large businesses (82% and 73% respectively).