National Australia Bank (NAB) and DCA have released a joint report that investigates employment initiatives from the perspective of Indigenous employees in the corporate sector. The landmark research project revealed the motivations and aspirations of Aboriginal Australians to provide valuable information to help build sustainable employment strategies for the future.
Titled Engaging Aboriginal Australians in the Private Sector: A Consultative Report into Aboriginal Employment Strategies and Initiatives, the research was drawn from a series of consultations with Aboriginal people across Australia, and a literature review of current leading Indigenous employment practices.
Key findings of the research highlighted the need for employers to develop genuine relationships with Aboriginal people, communities and organisations, in order to better understand the social and economic challenges experienced by Indigenous people and partner together to implement strategies to address them.
The consultations also highlighted that while leading diversity employers have made some good progress, there is room for improvement. Feedback included:
- Indigenous employment targets were seen as one way to address workplace underrepresentation, however, respondees urged companies to avoid creating short-term unsustainable jobs just to meet Indigenous employment targets.
- Indigenous specific positions were encouraged, such as school-based traineeships, to provide opportunities for entry into the job market. However, trainees need clear career pathways to avoid being locked into specific roles.
- A focus on young people is widely encouraged – programs that create pathways from school or TAFE or university into employment provide valuable training, work experience and employment.
- Like all workers, the reasons Indigenous employees leave their jobs are varied. Participants indicated that employers can improve the retention of Indigenous employees by developing mentoring schemes, addressing racism in the workplace, providing cultural awareness education, keeping people employed even after any wage subsidy period ends, providing career development and progression, and enabling flexible work practices.
- Participants also identified that there is an opportunity to promote the wide range of career options and different positions available within industries and generally raise awareness of role diversity and career paths.