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The Australian Employment Covenant - The Journey So Far

The Australian Employment Covenant (AEC) began in 2008 as a national industry-led initiative aimed at securing the commitment of 50,000 sustainable jobs for Indigenous Australians. This ambitious vision aimed to bring Australians together to break the vicious cycle of unemployment, hopelessness and poverty that exists among too many Indigenous Australians by creating the demand for an Indigenous workforce.

In what became the largest collaboration of employers in our nation’s history, by 30 June 2011, there were 291 employers partnered with the AEC, committing to roll out 55,718 job opportunities to Indigenous Australians right across this country. As much as we know that this was a milestone achievement, we know even more acutely that the journey had just begun.

The next stage of the journey was ‘the rollout’.  This period of implementation and consolidation saw employers who, in the course of their business activity, started or continued to roll out the job opportunities for Indigenous Australians. It is also the period when other stakeholders will become more actively engaged - those providing services to job seekers and, most importantly, the job seekers themselves.

The number of job commitments continued to grow, and at the end of 2012 there were 334 employers committing 60,061 jobs.  Importantly, over 12,000 jobs committed had been filled by employers. The Covenant’s employer-led model was working – with Covenant employers reporting a 71 per cent retention rate to 6 months, compared to the Government’s Job Services Australia who reported a 45 per cent retention rate to only 3 months.

Combining forces with GenerationOne

At the end of 2012, GenerationOne and the Australian Employment Covenant (AEC) combined forces to end the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in one generation through meaningful employment. Under GenerationOne, the AEC has evolved into the business worlds lobby group and are holding the Government accountable to deliver job specific employer directed training.

There is now a critical mass of employers who have activated their Covenant commitment and are employing Indigenous Australians across their businesses. The work of the Covenant complements the work being done by other organisations that are supporting Indigenous employment initiatives in such as Reconciliation Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plans.

In order to ensure the balance of job commitments are filled, the Covenant will focus on brokering employer-directed training, to build the suitable supply of Indigenous jobseekers for the vacancies that exist.