Jobseekers Dissatisfied With Government Employment Program
4 October 2018 at 8:42 am
Less than one in 10 jobseekers are satisfied with the federal government’s outsourced employment program and there’s a wide perception consultants are unskilled, new research suggests.
The Australian Council of Social Service surveyed 311 people using the government’s jobactive service, revealing only 8 per cent were satisfied with the program.
Consequently, 79 per cent said they preferred to rely on their own efforts to find employment, compared to just 6 per cent who preferred to use jobactive.
Looking at people’s experiences with employment consultants, 11 per cent considered their employment consultant to be well-skilled for the job, while 65 per cent did not.
ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said the survey showed jobactive was leading to anxiety rather than jobs.
“Fundamental change is needed in employment services,” Goldie said.
“Tinkering at the edges is not enough. Employment services must focus more on help and less on compliance, and governments must lift their investment in them.”
Survey respondents said they felt emotional and frustrated by the service, with some describing consultants as abusive, rude, or disrespectful.
But respondents did acknowledge consultants’ high caseloads (averaging 150 people) and an overemphasis on benefit compliance within the jobactive system.
In August, jobactive was referred to a Senate inquiry after a government discussion paper found almost half of participants remained in the service for two years.
Jobactive’s contract is scheduled to finish in 2020 and the government is currently redesigning the system.
Goldie said it was absolutely vital policy makers put people at the centre of the policies there were designing.
“We must listen to experiences of people using jobactive services and design an employment services system that responds to the needs they identify,” she said.
ACOSS said a reformed employment services system should abolish work-for-the-dole and reduce the requirement for jobseekers to search for 20 jobs in regions with so few jobs available.