Labour Data Reveals Big Drop in Job Outcomes
25 November 2013 at 9:52 am
The national peak body for Not for Profit employment services has warned the Federal Government that “big changes” need to be made to reverse a 15 per cent drop in employment outcomes.
The call comes after the release of the Labour Market Assistance Outcomes quarterly data for December 2012, March 2013 and June 2013 revealed the proportion of Job Services Australia job seekers who secured an employment outcome dropped by more than 15 per cent – equating to 75,000 fewer job outcomes.
Jobs Australia CEO David Thompson said the accumulation of red?tape, coinciding with a softening labour market, had made Job Services Australia contracts financially unviable in some areas.
“Our members are telling us that they’re losing money on these contracts,” Thompson said.
“If things don’t improve, the government might have the unprecedented problem of providers handing back their contracts.”
Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker said according to the data, the number of employment outcomes has in fact been trending down for the past five quarters, but the most significant decline occurred between June 30, 2012 and June 30, 2013.
“This is why I am continuing to consult with employment services providers about how we can make Job Services Australia more efficient and effective,” Hartsuyker said.
“I have already announced a number of cuts to red tape to allow providers to engage with employers and refocus on delivering employment outcomes.
“We are currently reviewing every aspect of the JSA system, with a view to implementing a streamlined, more effective system from 2015.”
Thompson welcomed the announcements by the Hartsuyker, but said further improvements were needed.
“It’s great that the Minister has hit the ground running and provided some immediate relief to providers,” Thompson said. “But we think there’s still a lot more to be done”.
Jobs Australia has handed a report to the Minister detailing a range of proposals that could improve the efficiency of the system and could be implemented quickly.
Thompson said at the top of the list was a suggestion to move to an “off?benefits” definition for employment outcome payments, to reduce the time providers spend hassling employers for evidence.
The reform would mean relying on the information collected by Centrelink when a claimant starts work, rather than requiring the Job Services Australia provider to collect separate declarations from employers.
“We believe that around 70 per cent of the paperwork for job outcome claims could be eliminated with this one change,” Thompson said.
“One of our members has told us this would save at least 4,650 hours of staff time each year – that’s 4,650 hours that could be better spent helping people into work.”