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The challenge

Aligning Indigenous recruitment with Indigenous career paths

Indigenous ways of knowing and doing offer unique perspectives which are valuable for many employers and industries.

In working towards reconciliation, many organisations have put plans in place to increase Indigenous representation in their workforces. CSIRO’s Reconciliation Action Plan commits to improving employment outcomes by increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment, retention and professional development.

However, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders represent less than two per cent of the Australian workforce.

To successfully recruit from this small but highly sought-after pool of talent, we need a rich understanding of the location, skills and qualifications of the Indigenous workforce.

Our response

The Indigenous Jobs Map

Working collaboratively with Indigenous researchers and an external Indigenous-led panel of experts, we developed an AI-powered tool to support Indigenous employment outcomes.

The Indigenous Jobs Map is an interactive online platform with two purposes. First, it can inform Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students, carers, teachers, advisors and workers' career decisions. Second, it can inform recruiters and employers who are seeking to employ Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

[Music plays and a split circle appears and photos of different CSIRO activities flash through in either side of the circle and then the circle morphs into the CSIRO logo]

[Image changes to show the Indigenous Job Map on a laptop screen, and text appears: Indigenous Job Map]

[Images move through to show Shanae Burns talking to the camera, and then a close view of a laptop being used and text appears: Shanae Burns, Research Technician, Data 61, CSIRO Butchulla]

Shanae Burns: CSIRO’s Indigenous Jobs Map is a great tool for students and carers who want to understand what types of qualifications are in demand in the labour market and where their unique cultural capability and knowledge are sought after.

[Images move through of pages of the website]

The Map draws upon a national data base of online job ads that shows what types of roles were advertised in different locations across Australia and what types of qualifications were sought after in these roles.

[Image changes to show Shanae working on a laptop, and then the image changes to show Louisa Warren talking to the camera, and text appears: Louisa Warren, CSIRO Manager, Office of Indigenous Engagement, Badulgal]

Louisa Warren: It’s also a tool for employers who, like CSIRO, are committed to increasing the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our workforce.

[Images move through of pages of the website]

The Map helps employers better understand where the unique talent, and capability, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can enhance their workforce.

[Image changes to show Louisa talking to the camera, and then the image changes to show a close view of Shanae using a laptop]

In CSIRO, we might be recruiting for a researcher to work on a bushfire management project, that we are running, in the Northern Territory.

[Images move through to show a map on the website, and then the image changes to show Louisa talking to the camera]

Traditional owners have a long history of caring for Country.

[Image changes to show Louisa and Shanae working on a laptop together]

So, we would like to ensure that the research can bring together two knowledge systems.

[Image changes to show a side and then facing view of an Indigenous man walking past a burnt out area of bush, and text appears: Footage Courtesy of Bush TV]

That is, Western science with Indigenous science.

[Image changes to show Louisa talking to the camera]

So, we want to recruit an Aboriginal researcher for the project.

[Image changes to show the website being used and selections being made on the website]

To understand the pool of Aboriginal talent in the region, we select the measure, number of people, and then we can choose to focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who recently completed a university degree. Because our project is about bushfire management, we might also specify that we want that university degree in the field of agricultural, environmental and related studies.

[Image shows the cursor selecting the search button at the bottom of the screen, and then the image changes to show Louisa talking to the camera]

When we hit the search button, nearly all the colour disappears from the map which tells me that there are very few regions in Australia, where there are five or more Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples with a Bachelor or Post Graduate Degree in agriculture, environmental and related studies

[Image changes to show the website again, and the camera zooms in on the legend at the bottom of the Map]

The legend in the bottom left-hand corner of the map shows me the numbers of the people that the colour coding is based on. This project in the Northern Territory can really benefit from having an Indigenous perspective within the team.

[Image changes to show Louisa talking to the camera]

Some of the data sets we are drawing upon haven’t previously been available to the public, and where they are, it takes a bit of skill to access and interpret it.

[Image changes to show a facing and then rear view of Louisa and Shanae walking towards the camera while looking at a laptop]

As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we know this information and we often yarn with hiring managers and students.

[Images move through to show Louisa, Shanae and a colleague looking at the website on a large screen, Louisa pointing to the website, a very close view of the website, and Louisa talking again]

We’ve built this Map to build the capability across the sector to support all employers and job seekers to make informed decisions about their career pathways or recruitment strategies.

[Image changes to show the Map website being used and the cursor making selections on the Map website]

Students and their carers and advisors can see with a few clicks in the map, what qualifications are sought after by employers in their area. Employees can also see where our people are and what career paths they are pursuing.

[Image changes to show Shanae talking to the camera, and then images move through of the website, and then Shanae pointing to the website on a very large screen]

Shanae Burns: It is important to acknowledge that there are lots of factors that need to be taken into account when making a decision about your career but we really hope that this tool can be one of the sources of information that helps students, their carers and advisors understand the opportunities on offer to them.

[Image changes to show Louisa talking to the camera]

Louisa Warren: We know that our career choices are shaped by our family and networks.

[Images move through to show Louisa typing on a laptop, a close view of the Map on the laptop screen, and then the website]

The Map is a small step towards bringing together the aspirations of our communities and those employers who are genuine in their efforts.

[Image changes to show Louisa talking to the camera, and text appears:]

Check it out and if you find it useful, please spread the word.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text on a white screen, and text appears: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency]

Introducing the Indigenous Jobs Map

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The map captures the market for Indigenous talent by crunching data on more than 10 million job ads posted on Adzuna. A machine learning algorithm was used to identify ads posted between January 2016 and December 2022 which are either identified (requiring or prioritising Indigenous candidates), call for cultural capability, or encourage Indigenous applicants.

The online ad data was analysed alongside Census, University, Vocational Education and Training data to form a picture of the profile of the Indigenous workforce.

The results

Data-driven insights for job seekers and employers

The data reveals the number of Indigenous-focused job ads more than doubled between 2016 and 2022. Companies in Western Australia posted the most Indigenous-focussed job ads overall, and the healthcare and social assistance sector led the charge for identified roles.

Butchulla woman and research technician Shanae Burns with the map

Recently, our researchers dove deeper into the data. Their analysis revealed despite the growth in Indigenous-focussed job ads, the diversity and quality of roles is limited. For example:

  • Some regions have a high proportion of Indigenous workers but low Indigenous-focused job postings, and vice versa
  • Identified positions tend to be in lower-skilled and less well-paid occupations
  • 14 per cent of all Indigenous-focused roles were for community and personal service workers

These insights can be used to better target Indigenous recruitment strategies to increase success rates.

It is also a rich source of information for students and job seekers, who can use the map to identify the locations and sectors where employers are actively seeking Indigenous workers and what qualifications they require.

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