The low employment rate of Indigenous Australians contributes to economic deprivation and a range of social problems. Increasing employment rates is key to reducing Indigenous disadvantage (e.g., COAG 2009). Employment is central to the Closing the Gap targets that directly refer to engagement with the mainstream economy. Paid employment can provide the economic independence and autonomy that allow Indigenous people to explore their own aspirations.
This paper provides an overview of the research-based evidence on why Indigenous Australians have much lower employment rates than non-Indigenous Australians, and which policies and programs have been most successful in increasing Indigenous employment. Relevant research has been identified through searching a number of databases and via the authors’ knowledge of research in this area.