Employment Pathways for Refugees

Recent research from the University of Sydney states the perceived benefits of hiring refugees often outweighes the challenges for employers seeking to hire them. Employers also currently lack knowledge regarding refugee employment, including how to identify and reach refugee job seekers and what government incentives are available.   

Having a contemporary refugee employment strategy is not just a ‘nice-to-have’ concept, it makes good business sense and will position your business to authentically make a positive social impact. 

We only need to look at IKEA for a positive Social Impact example with their partnership with Community Corporate to develop and implement the ‘Skills for Employment Program’. This program provides two month paid work placements for refugees in order to gain hands-on training and experience in the workplace. IKEA are changing the narrative around employment for refugees and leading the way to build genuine and meaningful pathways for people into the Retail Industry. 

With a current vacancy rate of over 36,000 jobs in Retail, with the right strategy in place, you can access a great wealth of new talent and build a cohort of loyal and skilled employees who are new to Australia. 

The ARA has gathered some resources to help you get started on your own journey.


Academic Research 

A report by Associate Professor Betina Szkudlarek of the University of Sydney Business School examines employer perceptions of refugee employment, and shows the steps businesses can take to boost the employment of refugees. 

University of Sydney Report “Engaging Business in Refugee Employment” 


IKEA Case Study

In the past two years IKEA has placed more than 160 refugees through the Skills for Employment Program. Find out how they are encouraging other retail businesses to expand and benefit from their pilot program.  

Read about IKEA’s Workforce Inclusion Program


Australia for UNHCR 

Your support could start by growing your awareness, building a partnership with Australia for UNHCR, donating funds and/or building your own Refugee Pathways to Employment. 

UNHCR Corporate Partnerships

From Pilot to Pipeline

Catch up on Community Corporate in conversation with IKEA Australia and Woolworths on their refugee workforce inclusion programs.

Half of Australian businesses want to hire refugees, but most don’t. Yet the mutual benefits of employing refugees and asylum seekers is significant, and ultimately prove that doing good is good for business. Catch up on the conversation with IKEA, Woolworths and the University of Sydney Business School panel discussion where the evolution of refugee workforce pilot initiatives have become permanent pillars of recruitment in both companies. 

Panelists unpacked the challenges, opportunities, experiences and outcomes of the programs and the business case for embedding secure employment for refugee and asylum seekers into their operations. 

Watch the hIghlights reel above or you can watch the full video here.