The Jobs Availability Snapshot aims to show what the job market is like for people who might struggle to land a job. It compares government data on the number of people with barriers to gaining work in the Jobactive system, with the number of suitable online positions advertised in the sample month of May 2019.
The 2019 results show that the job market isn’t working for everyone. It’s failing those who need the most help to find work.
In the report's sample month of May 2019, just ten percent of vacancies were suitable for someone who didn’t have qualifications or work experience. A staggering 1.16 million Australians were underemployed in the sample month. The research found that at least five jobseekers with barriers to work are competing for each these roles across Australia.
In the face of these findings, it is clear that the Jobactive network is failing people who need the most help. It is taking people an average of five years to find work, and at the same time, they are languishing on a Newstart payment that has been frozen at dangerously low levels. The system is punitive, but many people who are breached and punished by their Jobactive provider are later found to have done nothing wrong. Some are being cut off from payments altogether.
The findings of this Snapshot point to a clear need to invest in job creation. That means creating work that matches people’s skills, instead of forcing them to compete for jobs that just aren’t there.
It is also clear that the Jobactive network is broken and must be fixed. Private providers shouldn’t be paid to punish and breach people. Instead, they should be helping them by offering training that are actually linked to jobs – and supporting them to stay in those work once they find it.
And finally, the rates of Newstart and Youth Allowance must be raised. Nobody should be trapped in poverty while they look for work.
These changes are urgent. If we do not change course, we will go on forcing people to compete for jobs that simply do not exist – and risk trapping them in a cycle of poverty.