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4725.0 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth, Apr 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/05/2012  Reissue
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Contents >> Paid Work >> Young people in the labour force


PAID WORK: YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE LABOUR FORCE

This article is part of a comprehensive series released as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth.


Note: In this section, the terms 'youth' and 'young people' refer to people aged 15–24 years. Data presented are from the ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 and 2002 (cat. no. 4714.0) and the Survey of Education and Work, 2008 and 2009 (cat. no. 6227.0).

KEY MESSAGES

Of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in 2008:
  • 45% were employed (up from 39% in 2002)
  • 15% were unemployed (a decrease from 22% in 2002)
  • 39% were not participating in the labour force.
This brings the overall labour force participation rate to 61% in 2008.
  • The labour force participation rate for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was higher in non-remote areas than in remote areas (64% compared with 50%), and for males compared with females (71% compared with 51%).

An important indicator of economic engagement is participation in the labour force. The labour force participation rate refers to the number of people in the labour force (that is, employed plus unemployed) expressed as a percentage of the population.

LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION

In 2008, more than half (61%) of the 103,800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–24 years were participating in the labour force, with 45% (47,200) employed (an increase from 39% in 2002) and 15% (16,100) unemployed (a decrease from 22% in 2002). A further 39% (40,600) were not participating in the labour force (similar to 2002).

1.1 LABOUR FORCE STATUS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 1524 years—2002 and 2008
Graph: Labour Force Status, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–24 years—2002 and 2008
(a) Difference between 2002 and 2008 is statistically significant.
(b) Difference between 2002 and 2008 is not statistically significant.
Source: 2002 and 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Surveys

In 2008, labour force participation was higher in non-remote areas than in remote areas (64% compared with 50%), and for young males compared with young females (71% compared with 51%). It was also higher among 20–24 year olds than 15–19 year olds (66% compared with 57%).
1.2 LABOUR FORCE STATUS BY AGE, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–24 years—2008
Graph:Labour Force Status by Age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—2008
(a) Difference between 15–19 and 20–24 year age groups is statistically significant.
(b) Difference between 15–19 and 20–24 year age groups is not statistically significant.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

According to data from the 2008 and 2009 Surveys of Education and Work, non-Indigenous young people were more likely than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to be participating in the labour force (71% compared with 61%) and to be employed (63% compared with 45%) (Endnote 1).
1.3 LABOUR FORCE STATUS BY INDIGENOUS STATUS, youth aged 15–24 years—2008
Graph:Labour Force Status by Indigenous status, people aged 15–24 years—2008
(a) Difference between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous rate is statistically significant.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Survey of Education and Work, 2008 and 2009 (cat. no. 6227.0)

EMPLOYMENT

Being employed is an important indicator of economic participation which can have both short-term and long-term effects on the health and wellbeing of people.

In 2008, 45% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were employed, with a higher rate for young males than for females (53% compared with 38%). The proportion of young people who were employed did not vary significantly between non-remote and remote areas.

Among employed young people, around one in five (21%) were working full time (up from 15% in 2002) and 25% worked part time. The proportion of young males in full-time work was double that for young females (28% compared with 14%). However, rates of part-time work for young males and females were similar.

A higher proportion of young males than females were working full time in both the 15–19 years age group (22% compared with 10%) and the 20–24 years age group (37% compared with 18%).

In comparison, more than half (58%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–64 years were employed. Among those who were employed, men were twice as likely as women to work full time (53% compared with 26%) and were less likely to work part time (14% compared with 23%).
1.4 LABOUR FORCE STATUS BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 15–24 years—2008
Graph:Labour Force by Sex, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15–24 years—2008
(a) Difference between males and females is statistically significant.
(b) Difference between males and females is not statistically significant.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
Tenure of work

Among employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, almost two-thirds (64%) were in their current job on a permanent basis. Those aged 20–24 years were more likely than those who were younger to be working in their current job permanently (73% compared with 56%). Conversely, young people aged 15–19 years were more likely than those aged 20–24 years to be in temporary employment (35% compared with 23%).

Wanting to work more

More than half (58%) of employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people wanted to retain their working hours. Just over one-third (35%) wanted to work additional hours. There were no significant differences between the proportions of males and females or 15–19 and 20–24 year olds who wanted to work extra hours. Only a small proportion (6%) of young people wanted to work fewer hours.

Occupation

In 2008, just over one-third (34%) of employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were working as labourers compared with one in five (20%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–64 years. Employed youth were also more likely than employed people aged 25–64 years to be working in sales occupations (13% compared with 4%). Young people were less likely than those aged 25–64 years to be working as community and personal service workers (14% compared with 18%) or professionals (6% compared with 15%).

Young males were most commonly working as labourers (45%) or technicians and trades workers (25%), and young females as clerical and administrative workers (25%), community and personal service workers (22%) or sales workers (22%). Employed young males were more than twice as likely as females to work as labourers (45% compared with 19%) and were much less likely to be community and personal service workers (8% compared with 22%).


ENDNOTES

1. Estimates for non-Indigenous people from the Survey of Education and Work were averaged across the 2008 and 2009 surveys.



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