Anglicare Report Finds Lack of Entry-Level Jobs in Australia
19 October 2017 at 9:22 am
A new not-for-profit report on jobs availability in Australia has found that entry-level positions are drying up and driving unemployment, with nearly five job-seekers competing for every entry-level job across the country.
The Jobs Availability Snapshot from Anglicare Australia showed that only 15 per cent of all advertised jobs in May 2017 were at the entry-level, down from 22 per cent in 2006.
A lack of entry level positions was most evident in Tasmania, with almost 11 job seekers for every entry-level job in the island state.
Executive director of Anglicare Australia, Kasy Chambers, called on governments to take a new approach to help people find stable work.
“We’ve always known that the job market is tough for people without qualifications or experience to draw on. Our research shows that five of these job-seekers are competing for each entry-level job – and that entry-level jobs have been disappearing over the last 10 years,” Chambers said.
“Not only are they competing with each other for these diminishing jobs, but they are also competing with more highly-skilled job-seekers.
“Those who do find a job end up in unstable roles. We found that 1.1 million were underemployed – up from 875,200 in last year’s report.
“This shows that cracking down on welfare and forcing people to jump through hoops simply hasn’t worked. Instead of helping people find work, they are forced to compete for jobs that simply aren’t there.”
Anglicare Australia’s deputy director, Roland Manderson, told Pro Bono News that it was people facing barriers to work that were most struggling to enter the workforce.
“What we did was we looked at the people who get ranked by the job services as having the biggest set of barriers to work,” Manderson said.
“That includes people facing discrimination like older people trying to re-enter the workforce, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, those who are homeless, those who come from broken families, those who didn’t finish school and those who are family carers,”
Not only was there found to be a lack of entry-level jobs, but underemployment was also shown to be a growing issue.
Around 1.1 million people were underemployed – up from 875,200 in Anglicare’s report in 2016.
“The number of entry level jobs is drying up. It used to be that people without much experience could find a way into the workforce, but now there’s 124,000 people who face barriers to find work, and [only have] 26,000 jobs available for them at the one time,” Manderson said.
“Underemployment is a big problem as well. There’s people who have bits of work and they want more work, and they are chasing the same jobs that those facing barriers are going for.”
Manderson said the casualisation of the workforce was one of the key reasons why there was a growth of underemployment.
“The casualisation of the workforce and the increased part-time work is making people less secure. You’ll find people on Newstart allowance sometimes finding work, but then they’re back out of work again and trying to negotiate with DHS to get back on income support,” he said.
“The trouble for people trying to make a go of it, is this kind of work doesn’t include training opportunities, or a career path and security of work… and the growth of underemployment says there are too many people getting some work, but it’s not enough.
“There’s a business model there, where people don’t have to pay people all that much and the people they employ have to get support from government… which means the taxpayer is subsidising these businesses to under employ these people.”
He added however that there was some good news from the report, with the disability and aged care sectors set to grow across Australia.
Manderson said Anglicare was working towards creating stable jobs and career pathways for people in these industries.
“Our members in Anglicare Tasmania are deliberately creating work for people who are trying to enter the workforce who are young parents with kids in school. They are doing this out of their own resources because the training system isn’t designed to provide that kind of support for people to get into work,” he said.
“At this stage, the aged care model of funding doesn’t necessarily allow for that kind of engagement. So we need thousands more people to work in disability services and aged care, these are big growth industries.”
Manderson added that there needed to be a re-focus of government policy, in order to help end the cycle of poverty and underemployment.
“It’s time to stop blaming people for the fact they don’t have work, We’ve got the figures here that show there’s not the jobs for these people to get,” he said.
“So blaming people for being unemployed is a way that we can wash our hands of them and scapegoat them as not being our responsibility, when really, it is our responsibility and there should be opportunities of work for people who don’t have the skills yet.
“The next thing we have to do is make sure we give people enough money to live on. If there isn’t enough work for these people and if people are excluded from the workforce, then the very least we can do is ensure we aren’t trapping them into poverty through a lack of income support.”