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Entry-level jobs for disadvantaged Aussies continue to shrink

16 October 2019 at 10:30 am
Maggie Coggan
Anglicare Australia’s latest report reveals entry-level jobs are tougher to find and more competitive to land  

Maggie Coggan | 16 October 2019 at 10:30 am


Entry-level jobs for disadvantaged Aussies continue to shrink
16 October 2019 at 10:30 am

Anglicare Australia’s latest report reveals entry-level jobs are tougher to find and more competitive to land  

Chris is required to apply for 20 jobs a month to prevent being cut off from her Newstart payments. 

But the 26-year-old from Queanbeyan told Pro Bono News she applies for far more.

“I’m mainly applying for retail because that’s where most of my experience is,” Chris said. 

“I’ve branched out into other stuff that I don’t have experience in to see if I could get my foot in the door, but everybody wants experience.”

Up against younger people who could be paid less for the same jobs, Chris said the constant rejection was exhausting. 

“I feel tired, and it’s demoralising. I get told if I do certain things or put certain things on my resume then I’ll get hired immediately, but you just don’t,” she said.

“Sometimes you don’t even get rejection letters or rejection emails, so you’re just left there sitting wondering, did they even read the resume?” 

Her case is not unique.

Across the country, disadvantaged Australians are competing against overqualified job seekers for the same entry-level jobs, as underemployment rates hit a record high, new research has found.    

Anglicare Australia’s annual workforce snapshot, released on Wednesday, found out of the 174,000 jobs advertised in May, just 10 per cent were entry-level roles. 

This is down from 14 per cent in the same month in 2018, and has dropped from 22 per cent in 2006.    

The report, which measures how many jobs are available for people who don’t have qualifications or work experience, also found that one in seven jobseekers had barriers to work, such as a disability, not finishing year 12, or losing a job later on in life. 

These jobseekers spent an average of five years looking for work, with at least five of these jobseekers competing for each job at their skill level.

At the same time, 1.16 million Australians found to be underemployed in 2019 – up from 1.12 million in the previous year – were also applying for the dwindling number of entry-level jobs. 

These job seekers included recent graduates, retrenched workers and other applicants with greater skills.

“Like everyone else, they are motivated to find work,” the report said.

The level of competition for entry-level jobs in South Australia and Tasmania is especially dire. 

In SA, nine jobseekers were competing for each suitable job, and 14 were competing for each suitable job in Tasmania – up from 12 in 2018. 

For the fourth year running Anglicare Australia has pointed to immediately raising Newstart and overhauling the Jobactive Network as its first priorities.

Despite repeated social sector wide calls to raise Newstart and Youth Allowance rates by $75 a week, the federal government has held out on its refusal to lift the rate. 

Kasey Chambers, the executive director of Anglicare Australia, said that nobody should be trapped in poverty while they look for work.

She said private Jobactive providers shouldn’t be paid to punish and fine people. 

“They [Jobactive providers] should be offering training that’s actually linked to work – and supporting people to stay in work once they find it,” Chambers said. 

“These changes are urgent. If we don’t fix this broken system, we will go on forcing people to compete for jobs that simply do not exist.” 

Until changes are made, Chris said she would try hard to remain optimistic. 

“There’s not much you can really do except keep trying,” she said. 

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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