BCA Indigenous Engagement Survey 2013: Thousands of New Jobs, Billions in Contracts
The Business Council of Australia’s fifth annual Indigenous engagement survey presents an inspiring picture of corporate Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working together to create the social and economic conditions where Indigenous Australians can achieve their potential.
“What has emerged from the 2013 survey is a story of increased effort, learning and, importantly, of success,” said Michael Rose, Chief Executive Partner of Allens and Chairman of the BCA’s Indigenous Engagement Task Force.
“Each year more companies have made Indigenous engagement part of their agenda and each year the list of engagement activities and the scale of investment have expanded.”
In the last 12 months, 90 per cent of the companies surveyed have increased their Indigenous workforce, with a total of 3,500 additional Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander employees and trainees recruited this year. This brings the total collective Indigenous workforce of BCA members to around 20,000.
“Retail and mining are the largest industry employers but companies across the economy are now part of this collective effort, with energy, construction, financial services and mining-related services also reporting significant increases in the number of Indigenous employees.”
Other findings from the 2013 survey include:
- companies purchased over $2 billion in contracts, goods and services from Indigenous businesses and joint ventures – 60 per cent of respondents worked with an Indigenous business over the 12 months
- companies provided more than 100,000 hours of pro bono expertise/advice and/or employee hours to Indigenous groups/organisations, individuals or non-government organisations (NGOs) – again, 60 per cent of survey respondents provided pro bono support
- companies invested a total of $35 million in scholarships and partnerships with schools or tertiary institutions, school-based traineeships, cadetships and funding for Indigenous education focused NGOs.
“In 2009, when the BCA conducted the first survey of this kind, 28 companies reported having some form of Indigenous engagement activity,” said Mr Rose. “This year, the number of companies is 84.
“Just two years ago, 53 per cent of companies told us that Indigenous engagement was not in line with their business objectives. Now it’s just six per cent.
“What may have started as a spark of good intention has evolving into a multifaceted approach to economic and community development, the benefits of which flow both ways.”
Commenting on the remarkable results of this year’s survey, BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said it reflected the commitment of CEOs that enduring national prosperity could not be achieved in Australia while significant disparities persist between Indigenous people and the rest of the population in measures of health, education and economic inclusion.
“BCA members believe every Australian should have the opportunity to be a part of our economic prosperity – to contribute to it and benefit from it,” said Ms Westacott.
“This is why so many companies have expanded their Indigenous engagement and employment over the last five years, and plan to do so in the future.
“As Noel Pearson said at a recent BCA event, business leaders who work every day to create wealth, plan long term and who are prepared to take risks to solve problems are giving Australia the best opportunity it’s ever had to support the success of Indigenous citizens.”
Survey cover: Patrick Tjungurrayi, Wirrilpinya, 2005 | Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd
© 2013 Patrick Tjungurrayi licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited