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The Australian National University

Patterns of Indigenous job search activity

Discussion Paper 263 / 2004


There have been a number of labour market programs that have attempted to increase rates of employment of Indigenous Australians by influencing job search behaviour. However, remarkably little is known about the job search behaviour of Indigenous job seekers or how this compares with the job search behaviour of other job seekers. This paper provides the first ever baseline of data on the job search behaviour of Indigenous job seekers and how it compares to the job search of non-Indigenous job seekers. Clear differences in the job search behaviour between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are apparent. Indigenous Australians rely disproportionately on friends and relatives as a source of information about jobs, although their networks tend to have fewer employed members and therefore are of less value than those of non-Indigenous job seekers. Non-Indigenous job seekers are more likely to use more proactive search methods than are Indigenous job seekers.

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