Creating pathways to employment is a crucial step in the process of resettling newly arrived refugees.

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Why hire refugees

Leading Australian employers around the country are experiencing the benefits of attracting and retaining refugee employees.

Forward-thinking recruiters recognise that refugee workers present an opportunity to tap into international talent and employ people who are highly motivated to succeed and contribute their skills and experience.

By opening up employment opportunities for refugees your company demonstrates leadership in the resettlement of refugees, allowing you to meet your business needs while adopting a meaningful corporate social responsibility approach.

Investing in refugee employees makes sound business sense. It offers:

Competitive advantage through cultural knowledge

Refugees provide cultural and linguistic links to Australia’s multicultural community made up of people originally from over 190 countries. You can improve your understanding of customer needs and how to meet them by employing staff who reflect the cultural background of, and speak the same language, as customers. This gives your business a competitive advantage in delivering better services, building customer loyalty, and penetrating into new and emerging markets.

Diversity of thought

Diversity of thought has been shown to benefit businesses in their decision-making. Studies have shown that inclusive workforces and teams perform better and are more likely to innovate.

Refugees add to this diversity by offering expertise and perspectives (unique to people who have lived through a refugee journey) to solve business problems.


Employees from a refugee background have been found to have higher retention and lower absenteeism rates. For example, in a recent survey of 26 American companies, 73% reported lower turnover for refugee staff.

Personal attributes: resilience, courage, adaptability

The experience of surviving a refugee journey can be an indicator of a level of courage and resilience that can be very beneficial for an employee to have. These experiences also develop a person’s problem-solving skills and adaptability to change. The ability to communicate in more than one language also demonstrates learning agility.

Filling skills shortages

Australia is experiencing major skills shortages in a range of industries. Around 80% of refugees are of working age and motivated to undertake skills training to work in industries where their employment prospects are high.

Source of talent

Some refugees have years of work experience in their home countries but struggle to find jobs in Australia commensurate with that experience. Giving an experienced person an entry level position is seen by some companies as a short-term investment in an employee who already has the workplace maturity and capability to perform successfully in a more senior position.

Alignment with corporate values

Including refugees in the workforce aligns with corporate values such as diversity, inclusiveness, social responsibility, contributing to community and social harmony.

Some businesses have responded to the wishes of their own customers to increase their social contribution. Others take the view that the situation of refugees is a global issue and businesses have a responsibility to respond.

Staff pride and morale

Staff who are involved in recruiting, supporting and working with refugee employees personally benefit from having an opportunity to help someone build a new life.

People are proud of working in an organisation that gives them these opportunities. This boosts morale, increasing retention and attracting other people with similar values to work there. Studies have shown that 75-85% of millennials consider a company’s social/environmental commitments when deciding where to work, and are more loyal to a company that helps them support those issues.