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Education and work

Labour force participation and employment

Increasing the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–64 who are employed to 62%, and increasing the proportion aged 15–24 in employment, education or training to 67%, by 2031, are 2 of the targets in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

Labour force status classifications:

In the labour force describes people who have a full-time or part-time job or who are unemployed and looking for work.

Not in the labour force describes people who do not have a job and are not looking for work.

In 2018–19, an estimated 60% (299,739) of Indigenous Australians of working age—those aged 15–64—were participating in the labour force and 49% (243,780) had a job (Figure EW 14 and Figure EW 15a).

In 2018–19, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–64:

  • People aged 25–34 were more likely to participate in the labour force than other age groups (66% or 78,241).
  • Males (68% or 163,429) were more likely to participate in the labour force than females (53% or 136,383) (Figure EW 14).
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In 2018–19, among Indigenous Australians aged 15–64:  

  • Those aged 25–34 (55% or 64,339), 35–44 (54% or 44,845) and 45–54 (55% or 45,085) were more likely to have a job (that is, to be employed) than those aged 15–24 (43% or 66,927) and 55–64 (38% or 21,993).
  • Males were more likely to have a job (54% or 129,509) than females (45% or 113,955) (Figure EW 15a).
  • Those living in the Australian Capital Territory (61% or 3,012) had the highest proportion of employment, while those in the Northern Territory had the lowest (37% or 17,970).
  • Those living in non-remote areas (52% or 207,553) were more likely to have a job those living in remote areas (38% or 35,831) (Figure EW 15b).
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Occupation

In 2016, the top five occupations for Indigenous Australians aged 15–64 were:

  • community and personal service workers (18% or 30,529)
  • labourers (16% or 27,340)
  • technicians and trades workers (14% or 24,143)
  • professionals (14% or 23,735)
  • clerical and administrative workers (13% or 22,831) (Figure EW 16).
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