Indian-born Australians are full of energy and aspirations; and can make significant contributions to the country’s economic and social development, a Department of Foreign and Trade report has found.
Australia has released a first-of-its-kind report titled “Australia’s Indian Diaspora: A National Asset – Mapping the Community’s Reach into the Australia-India Economic Relationship”.
This report aims to develop a better understanding of the Indian diaspora’s reach into the Australia-India economic relationship.
This intensive study of Indian migrants provides profound and vivid insights into the over 721,000-strong community, the second-largest group of overseas-born residents in Australia.
According to the report, Indians are Australia’s second-largest tax-paying diaspora. It says Australia’s Indian-born population is on average younger, has higher educational attainment and earns a greater income than the general population.
This report’s findings suggest a range of focus areas for discussion with the Indian diaspora community to better enable its contributions to the future of the economic partnership with India, including exploring:
• how new business opportunities can be unlocked, drawing on networks of diaspora talent; • how government-led bilateral trade and investment initiatives can be promoted across diaspora business networks;
• how diaspora’ business champions’ can be supported to provide advice on successful models of operating in the Indian market, navigating risks and interpreting business culture; and
• how emerging talent in the Indian diaspora can be showcased across the business community. The research presented in this report will inform further discussion and collaboration with Indian diaspora networks, as well as the consideration of strategies to better target diaspora engagement and grow ties between Australia and India.
This report’s key findings are as follows:
• Reflecting its energy and aspiration, Australia’s Indian-born population is on average younger, has higher educational attainment and earns greater income than the general population. It is Australia’s second-largest tax-paying diaspora.
• The geographic distribution of the Indian diaspora broadly reflects Australian demographics, with around 70 per cent located in Victoria and New South Wales.
• The Indian diaspora is represented disproportionately in a number of high-skill occupations, including in technology-enabled areas with skills shortage and export potential.
• The Indian diaspora is well represented in the Australian business community. Based on a 2021 snapshot of company data, people of Indian heritage are employed as directors and managers in at least 996 Australian organisations. Within those organisations, there are an estimated 2,840 directors and managers of Indian heritage out of a total of over 20,730 working in Australia. This corresponds to over 13 per cent of the total, while the diaspora represents approximately 3 per cent of the Australian population overall. Of the directors and managers of Indian heritage, 12.5 per cent are women, as compared to 9.3 per cent of the total.
• Among the cohort of 2,840 directors and managers of Indian heritage, this report finds a subset of 964 have strong potential to influence trade and investment with India. This subset’s representation is high in several sectors of significance to the relationship with India, including health, tourism, ICT and resources, across companies representing over $250 billion in annual turnover. However, it is proportionally lower in the education and agribusiness sectors, despite their importance to the relationship.
• Across Australia, the representation of people of Indian heritage in senior academic roles at lecturer level and above in universities is increasing, having grown from 1.75 per cent in 2016 to 1.92 per cent in 2020.
• A growing number of business-focused and professional networks are emerging among the Indian diaspora. These vary widely in their online presence. Empirical evidence for the trade effects of migration is developing. But the cumulative effect of a youthful, linguistically diverse and growing community that is generally highly educated, plugged into networks of innovation, and well represented in business, across services and STEM sectors with strong export potential, suggests Indian diaspora networks represent important contributors not only to trade and investment with India, but also to Australia’s international competitiveness.