We are calling for immediate action from employers, governments, and investors to bring about the end of Indigenous employment disparity.
We are calling on executive leaders in all Australia-based organisations to:
Indigenous employment targets are critical to driving employment outcomes, but targets must be complemented by a comprehensive Indigenous employment strategy. Targets and plans, such as Reconciliation Action Plans, provide accountability, but are the beginning of the journey, not an outcome in their own right. Reporting progress towards targets, whether internally and/or externally, is associated with statistically significant better outcomes.
Amid labour shortages and fierce competition for talent, employers must work hard to retain their Indigenous employees at the same rate as other employees. This Index provides a range of measures that employers can take to support better Indigenous employment outcomes, including retention. Report on retention – especially during organisational restructures, provide Indigenous specific development opportunities, and prioritise workplace culture and safety.
Employers are required by law to provide a safe workplace for all employees. This is unattainable if racism is present in your workplace, which disproportionately compromises the safety of Indigenous employees. Ensure discrimination policies and procedures include considerations for Indigenous employees, upskill leaders and line managers in preventing and responding to racism at work, and increase the cultural capability and responsiveness of employees.
The Employer Roadmap (see Chapter Three of the Index) is based on the Index’s results, and provides a practical, evidence-based way for your organisation to progress towards true Indigenous employment parity. Employers should self-assess the current state of their workplace against the Roadmap, and identify next steps towards parity, based on your unique industry, organisation, and context. Progress can be assessed through the next iteration of the Index in 2024.
We are calling on the federal government to:
Indigenous employment data is only collected and reported comprehensively every five years, through the National Census. In between these years, it is difficult to track Indigenous employment over time, let alone the impacts of policy decisions on the Indigenous workforce. This Index goes some way, but not far enough to filling this glaring data gap.
The federal government can support employers by including them as partners on Indigenous employment policies and system design, and by setting clear guidelines and expectations for Indigenous employment outcomes.
The federal government and the Coalition of Peaks have agreed that building the Indigenous community-controlled sectors is a priority area for reform; we call on the government to prioritise the Indigenous employment sector in this reform.
We are calling on all institutional investors to:
Racism and culturally unsafe work environments impact employee health, wellbeing and job satisfaction. The diversity, wellbeing and engagement of a company’s workforce can strongly influence the success of a company.
Using this Index and the Employer Roadmap it contains as a guide, investors should assess whether investee companies have policies and practices in place to ensure a safe work culture and support Indigenous employment.
Investors should actively engage with investee companies on how they are ensuring a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace culture. Investors should set clear expectations that investee companies identify risks and take action to ensure that their operations promote and enhance respect, inclusion and equality for Indigenous employees and disclose accordingly.
Indigenous employment parity is achievable in our generation but requires approximately 300,000 more Indigenous Australians to enter paid work by 2040.
This is our responsibility, and our opportunity to take.
What impact will your organisation make?