The importance of understanding Indigenous employment in the Indigenous business sector

Christian Eva, Kerry Bodle, Dennis Foley, Jessica Harris, Boyd Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


Indigenous employment has been the subject of numerous policies in Australia, with governments aiming to increase the workforce participation rate amongst Indigenous people in recent years. Indigenous-owned businesses, formally defined as businesses that are at least 50% Indigenous-owned, have been demonstrated in previous research to maintain substantially higher levels of proportional Indigenous employment than non-Indigenous businesses. This suggests that Indigenous-owned businesses maintain work environments that are more supportive of and conducive to Indigenous employment, meriting the influence of Indigenous-owned businesses' workplace practices in future Indigenous employment policy design. Using administrative data from two Indigenous business registries (Black Business Finder and Supply Nation), this paper provides an updated empirical analysis of the Indigenous business sector. This paper demonstrates that Indigenous-owned businesses of all sizes, industries, locations and profit statuses consistently average proportional Indigenous employment rates higher than the Indigenous proportional population. Of all the people employed in Supply Nation-listed businesses, over 35% are Indigenous. The potential impact of the Indigenous Procurement Policy is illustrated by differentials in the size of businesses and their capacity to employ Indigenous staff. This paper provides analysis of the Indigenous business sector that can inform future policy direction for both Indigenous employment and Indigenous business policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-522
Number of pages29
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
Externally publishedYes


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