Anglicare Australia presents plan for long-term unemployed

Long-term unemployment in Australia has barely budged, but a major charity network has a plan to help people get back to work.

Entry-level jobs are disappearing, and with them, opportunities for the long-term unemployed – but long-term unemployment can be alleviated by a combination of demand and supply-side interventions, according to the report. one of Australia’s largest charity networks.

In a new report, Creating Jobs, Creating Opportunities, Anglicare Australia recommends the creation of new employment and training opportunities, an overhaul of Workforce Australia and increased income support payments to help the long-term unemployed find work.

The report notes that those facing long-term unemployment are not reaping the benefits of Australia’s labor boom.

“This has created a dichotomy: long-term unemployment remains stubborn while overall unemployment declines,” the report said, adding that “those who encounter barriers to work are still out of work.”

What is the problem?

The document revealed that long-term unemployment barely budged even as the jobless rate fell.

Entry-level vacancies have fallen, but there are 15 people across Australia competing for every entry-level job.

One in ten people have no recent experience or qualifications or face other barriers to employment such as age or disability, and spend around five years looking for a job.

And according to the report, people who have been unemployed for five years or more are much less likely to ever find a job.

“The push towards full employment will not be possible simply by increasing the pie or assuming that every person is qualified for every vacancy,” the document states.


See more: The unemployment rate and the labor market


The executive director of Anglicare Australia said that while Australia’s low unemployment rate has been “hailed as a triumph”, long-term unemployment is “stubborn”.

“Even in a booming market, the same people are missing. Good jobs don’t exist for people who need them, and they’re stuck in a system that punishes them instead of helping them.

“The jobs they need – entry-level positions – are disappearing from the job market. No amount of interviews, online tasks, paperwork or penalties will change that fact.

What are the solutions ?

On the demand side, Anglicare Australia recommends focusing on building entry-level pathways. The elderly and disabled care sector in particular could be a target in this regard.

But the report warns that while care roles “are meaningful jobs, in a growing industry, with a solid career trajectory”, they must be “permanent and secure roles, with competitive salaries and good conditions”.

“Governments have been reluctant to create jobs, but we’ve found that the market just isn’t creating the jobs people need. They should create entry-level opportunities in growing sectors, like elderly and disabled care, that can lead to long-term careers,” Chambers said.

Other areas ripe for job creation are in manufacturing and local councils or businesses.

“It is clear that government investment in job creation has become essential for those in need of pathways. Job creation programs provide bridges for people facing barriers to employment. Job creation simply cannot be left to an already failing market,” the report says.

On the supply side, the paper recommends that Workforce Australia be overhauled.

“This system supports private businesses and costs taxpayers millions every year, but it fails to get people to work,” Chambers explained.

The report refers to research by Anglicare Australia showing that “despite a high level of compliance with Centrelink obligations and job search activities, many respondents did not consider these activities useful in helping them find work. “.

Instead, Chambers said, those facing long-term unemployment should be helped to develop their long-term skills by “facilitating their transition to TAFE or their return to school”.

The document points to the early days of the pandemic, when large numbers of people suddenly found themselves unemployed and dependent on income assistance, as proof that “strict obligations and activity tests were useless in the face of obstacles systemic”.

Additionally, the document says income support penalties such as suspensions and cancellations do not help people find work.

Similarly, low-income support payments catch long-term job seekers “into a poverty trap as they navigate a system that is not equipped to help them”.

Low salaries act as a “barrier to work,” preventing people from preparing adequately or getting to interviews.

“We need to lift job seekers out of poverty. No one should be trapped in poverty while looking for work,” Chambers said.

“The government has made jobs and skills a priority. We hope they focus on the people who need help the most, instead of leaving them behind.

Read the full report online.

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