Culturally and linguistically diverse women

Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women have a significantly lower rate of workforce participation compared to CALD men (47.3 per cent and 69.5 per cent respectively).

 

Workforce participation rates for culturally and linguistically compared with all women
Source: ABS, Labour Force, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Feb 2017, cat. no. 6291.0.55.001, 12 month average of original data, persons aged 15 years and over.

The workforce participation rates for culturally and linguistically diverse women (15+) are 47.3%, compared with all women (15+) at 59.2%, and culturally and linguistically diverse men (15+) at 69.5%.

Australia’s success as a migrant country depends on the economic participation of migrants, both men and women. Migrant women face particular challenges when it comes to economic participation and financial security.

The key barriers to employment for skilled women who have migrated to Australia include women’s lower proficiency in English and lack of local work experience, limited understanding of Australian workplace culture, and limited recognition of their skills/qualifications. Key barriers to employment for women humanitarian entrants include family and caring responsibilities, lack of work experience and lower educational attainment prior to arrival and mental and physical health issues.

Women from CALD backgrounds also experience limited opportunities to gain drivers licences, encounter traditional cultural expectations of women as domestic caregivers, and child care and community care responsibilities that inhibit employment opportunities.

That’s why the Australian Government has a strong focus on the three Es — English language proficiency, employment and education — when providing settlement services to migrants and humanitarian entrants.

The Government continues to ensure its mainstream employment services feature a range of interventions, activities and complementary programs to help CALD and refugee job seekers, including women.

Where are we?

The Government has a strong focus on the three Es — English language proficiency, employment and education — when providing settlement services to migrants and humanitarian entrants.

We have ensured that jobactive features a range of interventions, activities and complementary programs to help CALD and refugee job seekers, including women. In December 2016, the Government started the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme Highly Disadvantaged Trial to help highly disadvantaged job seekers, including CALD women, overcome barriers to starting their own business.

A number of our Empowering YOUth Initiatives focus specifically on getting refugees into jobs, and the Government funds the Friendly Nation Initiative, a business-led strategy that seeks to increase employment, mentoring, training and internship opportunities for refugees and humanitarian migrants. 

As part of the Youth Employment Strategy, the Government is investing $22.1 million in the Transition Support for Young Refugees and Other Vulnerable Migrants (YTS pilot) initiative. The YTS pilot will test innovative approaches to help young humanitarian entrants and other vulnerable young migrants to build capability and resilience, to engage with education and make successful transitions to employment. Almost half the participants are young women.

The Government also provides support to the Friendly Nation Initiative, a business-led strategy that seeks to increase employment, mentoring, training and internship opportunities for refugees and humanitarian migrants.

We have partnered with the Australian Institute of Company Directors' to provide 55 full fee scholarships to aspiring female directors from culturally and linguistically diverse, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds to attend their highly regarded Company Directors or Foundations of Directorship programs. 

The Government is investing $5.7 million in 30 new National Community Hubs. The Hubs provide a place for local residents, businesses and community services to help newly-arrived migrants and refugees forge connections and access support services.

Supported by the Australian Government, the Australian Multicultural Council has commissioned the Australian Institute of Family Studies to undertake the research project Empowering Migrant and Refugee Women to identify good practice services and/or programs and gaps in service and/or program delivery.

The Third Action Plan 2016–2019 of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 (the National Plan) expands the trial of an intensive, recovery-focused support program for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who have experienced violence to help them to improve life skills and employment prospects.

Key Actions 2017-18

  • Deliver the Career Pathways Pilot for Humanitarian Entrants targeting newly arrived humanitarian entrants with vocational level English language proficiency and skills or qualifications gained overseas, to improve career pathways into similar jobs in Australia.
  • Invest, from 1 July 2018, $263 million over four years to expand the ParentsNext program. This expansion will assist parents of young children, who may be at risk of long-term welfare dependency, to plan and prepare for employment by the time their children are at school.
  • Fund through the new Launch into Work program, pre-employment partnerships that provide training, mentoring and work experience to assist job seekers to become work ready. Projects are flexible and will be designed to meet the specific needs of culturally and linguistically diverse women.
  • As of April 2017, refugees will also be eligible to participate in Youth Jobs PaTH which will provide job seekers with employability skills training and internships to give them the work experience they need to find work.
  • Continue to provide information about the value of fostering a diverse workplace can be found in various Government publications, such as the Connections booklet for employers considering recruiting someone with a migrant or refugee background.
  1. AMES Australia (2016) Hidden Assets: Partner-migration, skilled women and the Australian workforce https://www.ames.net.au/files/file/Research/AMES%20Australia%20Hidden%20Assets_Partner%20Migration.pdf [accessed 18 April 2017]
  2. Refugee Council of Australia (2010) What works: employment strategies for refugees and humanitarian entrants http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/r/rpt/2010-Employment.pdf [accessed 18 April 2017]
  3. FECCA Fact Sheet: Employment Issues Facing CALD Communities http://www.fecca.org.au/images/stories/pdfs/employment-fact-sheet.pdf [accessed 10 April 2017]