Wed, 06 Jul 2022

CANBERRA, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Indigenous Australians are "almost entirely absent" from corporate executive roles, a report has found.

Non-profit organization the Minderoo Foundation recently launched the Indigenous Employment Index (IEI), the first comprehensive snapshot of Indigenous employment representation ever carried out in Australia.

It revealed that only 0.7 percent of senior leadership positions in corporate Australia are held by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

As of 2018, less than half, or 49.1 percent of working-age Indigenous Australians were in some form of employment, compared to 75.9 percent of non-Indigenous Australians. Worryingly, that gap only closed by 1.3 percent during the decade to 2018, said the report.

The average Indigenous employment rate among 42 organizations that participated in the survey was 2.2 percent, with a low of 0.17 percent and a high of 10.9 percent.

Shelley Cable, Director of Minderoo's Generation One initiative, described the disparity as disappointing.

"Today, less than half of working-age Indigenous Australians are employed, compared to three-quarters of non-Indigenous Australians. At the current rate, it will take 200 years to close the gap," Cable said in a media release on Monday.

"Among its key recommendations, the Indigenous Employment Index finds that one-off measures to create Indigenous jobs must give way to a more comprehensive and systemic approach. Authentic commitments, tailored strategies with targets, and a broader definition of Indigenous employment success that includes retention, safety, progression, and partnerships are critical to better Indigenous employment outcomes."

Over 50 percent of Indigenous employees who were surveyed for the report said they have experienced direct or indirect racism in the workplace.

Three-quarters of participating organizations, which included Rio Tinto, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and retail giants Wesfarmers and Woolworths, have Indigenous employment targets but only 67 percent report regularly on their progress.

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