Handbook for Indigenous Employment

GenerationOne, the Australian Employment Covenant initiative, Reconciliation Australia and Social Ventures Australia have collaborated to develop a step-by-step guide for managers and supervisors who are on the frontline of hiring and retaining Indigenous staff.

Everybody’s Business: A Handbook for Indigenous Employment was developed in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and organisations, reflecting the shared knowledge and experiences on helping people break the cycle of disadvantage through sustainable employment.

“When we share our knowledge and expertise the whole community benefits.”

Warren Mundine, CEO, GenerationOne

The Prime Minister’s 2013 Closing the Gap report identified 77 per cent of Indigenous jobseekers were in Streams 3 and 4, the most disadvantaged streams in Job Services Australia. This is compared to 43 per cent for all to other jobseekers.

“We know the majority of Indigenous jobseekers face multiple barriers to employment, which locks them out of the workforce. But many of these barriers are surmountable if employers know how to navigate these issues” said Mr Mundine.

“When you are dealing with people there can never be one single solution. This handbook helps employers to make their recruitment processes more accessible to Indigenous candidates, and to tweak their practices to try and screen candidates in instead of out,” said Mr Mundine.

“More and more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are going into work from school or university. But for those who are long term unemployed, or have multiple and severe barriers to work, we need to think differently about how we make our workplaces more accessible and respectful,” said Reconciliation Australia CEO, Leah Armstrong.

“Labour supply requires mainstream businesses to be part of supported transitional paths from exclusion to employment, and not just as a corporate feel-good exercise. This handbook gives employers a practical guide that will help Indigenous Australians step out of welfare and into work, which is good for the community and the economy,” said Michael Traill, Chief Executive of Social Ventures Australia.

“This handbook is a collaboration that reflects our common goal of boosting sustained employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” said Ms Armstrong.

The Australian Employment Covenant, a GenerationOne initiative, has built the demand for an Indigenous workforce with 335 Covenant employers committing 60,331 jobs for Indigenous people. Covenant employers have filled 25 per cent of their job commitments, demonstrating the need to share knowledge and expertise for engaging with particularly long term unemployed people to truly end the disparity.

Reconciliation Australia works with over 360 organisations with a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) who are creating workplaces where jobs are sustainable. Of surveyed RAP employees 81 per cent support their employer providing job opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and RAP organisations have committed to 213,446 people attending cultural awareness training with 23 per cent having completed training.

The content was developed following on from a series of case studies examining best practice, published by GenerationOne with consulting support from Social Ventures Australia. Working it out: Case studies of success in transitioning long-term unemployed Indigenous Australians into sustainable employment gave employers unprecedented insight into ways employers can break the cycle of Indigenous unemployment, and at a granular level, how this is working. Everybody’s Business: A Handbook for Indigenous Employment builds on this by distilling the methodology and sharing it in a practical way with line managers and supervisors.

Download the full handbook Everybody’s Business: A Handbook for Indigenous Employment (PDF, 1.6MB)