Charles Darwin University

CDU eSpace
Institutional Repository

CDU Staff and Student only

Techical Paper : How to mobilise the 'untapped' labour force for Northern development? Case study of Darwin, Northern Territory

Golebiowska, Kate and Boyle, Alicia (2015). Techical Paper : How to mobilise the 'untapped' labour force for Northern development? Case study of Darwin, Northern Territory. Darwin, NT: Charles Darwin University, Northern Institute.

Document type: Research Report
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your CDU eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Download this reading Golebiowska_52960.pdf Published version application/pdf 523.81KB 405
Reading the attached file works best in Firefox, Chrome and IE 9 or later.

School, Research Institute or Centre Northern Institute
Author Golebiowska, Kate
Boyle, Alicia
Title of Report Techical Paper : How to mobilise the 'untapped' labour force for Northern development? Case study of Darwin, Northern Territory
Publication Date 2015
Publisher Charles Darwin University, Northern Institute
Place of Publication Darwin, NT
Start Page 1
End Page 31
Total Pages 31
Language English
Field of Research 340207 Labour Economics
Abstract This report presents findings and recommendations from a pilot project that aims to inform strategies for increasing
economic participation in the Northern Territory (NT). It is situated in the context of the tight labour market conditions in
the NT and Darwin, the Federal Government’s White Paper for Developing Northern Australia (Australian Government
2015) and the NT Government Framing the Future strategy (NT Government not dated). It was conducted in 2014 and
2015 in Greater Darwin (thereafter Darwin) and focused on the engagement and retainment of locally resident ‘untapped’
labour force groups by local small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). The three groups under investigation were: (a)
recent migrants and refugees (those who arrived and settled in Darwin in 2010–15), (b) people with a disability and (c)
people who were aged 50 and over at the time of securing employment. The key message is that many SMEs in Darwin
already employ people from these groups. Largely, their experience with employing them has been successful and they
have gained numerous benefits from these employment relationships. These outcomes have resulted from the personal
and professional characteristics of the individuals they engaged and certain efforts made by SMEs.

The NT is experiencing an economic development boom but its capacity to seize the opportunities with which it is
presented is constrained by a small and mobile workforce, high labour market participation rate, low unemployment rate,
staff recruitment and retention difficulties and wide-spread skills shortages in many industries. With the Federal and NT
Governments’ commitment to developing the North, further development is anticipated to occur. The growth and
development of the northern workforce are key to the economic and social development of the region (White Paper) but
the ‘untapped’ groups are not mentioned in this context. The Framing the Future document presents a vision of the NT
where everyone can participate in the society and the economy. Specific objectives include improving productivity
through training and skills development, achieving high levels of employment, and generating economic intelligence to
support efficient investment-making. This project complements the Federal and the NT Government agendas by
generating evidence on how the ‘untapped’ labour force resident in Darwin can be upskilled and supported in securing
and retaining employment. This could help address the current limited employee market and expand the scope of the
strategies for growing and developing the northern workforce.

The project analyses the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011 Census data and the results from an online survey of
SMEs conducted in March – April 2015 in Darwin. The Census variables selected for this project include age, gender,
region of birth (for migrants and refugees), labour force status, the highest level of post-school qualification and
occupational level. The report also considers the 2011 Census statistics on the three groups under review that are not in
the labour force because by definition, the ‘not in the labour force’ comprise people who could be interested and available
to take up employment: the marginally attached to the labour force and the discouraged job seekers. Seventy-five survey
responses were received. The survey yielded a snapshot of employers’ experiences with recruitment, training,
employment and retention of workers from these groups, what support they may need when engaging them and intentions
for their future employment.
Keyword recent migrants and refugees
people with a disability
mature age people
abour market

© copyright

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in CDU eSpace. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact

Version Filter Type
Access Statistics: 94 Abstract Views, 405 File Downloads  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Tue, 15 Dec 2015, 10:37:55 CST by Kate Golebiowska