This report presents the findings of the Minerals Industry Indigenous Employment Research Project, a collaborative research project between CSRM, Rio Tinto and other companies that have been active in the field of indigenous employment. Key objectives of the project were to:
- inform the minerals industry and policy makers about key trends and issues relating to indigenous employment in the minerals industry
- develop a toolkit to assist mining companies achieve improved indigenous employment outcomes
- develop a standard framework for evaluating and comparing the indigenous employment practices of mining operations
- facilitate the sharing of good practice within the industry.
The study involved 12 site visits, 113 face-to-face interviews, a practitioners’ workshop, a review of published and unpublished research, and the collection and analysis of a comprehensive array of site data, including internal company reports and employment statistics.
Factors that can make it difficult for indigenous people to obtain work in the minerals industry include:
- lack of education and relevant training
- lack of exposure to the mainstream workforce, the ‘industrial culture’ of the mining industry and the expectations of employers
- the challenges involved in balancing family and community obligations with the demands of full-time work
- poor health and difficulties in complying with drug and alcohol testing regimes.
For mining companies wishing to employ more Indigenous people the obstacles include:
- the lack of a ‘job-ready’ labour pool
- insufficient appreciation of how socio-economic disadvantage impacts on the recruitment and retention of indigenous employees.
Tiplady, A. & Barclay, M. A. (2007). Indigenous employment in the Australian minerals industry. CSRM: Brisbane.