Opinion

Tough going for jobseekers

By Shepparton News

The Australian Bureau of Statistics announced yesterday that unemployment rates have dropped five per cent, the lowest level recorded since April 2012.

As the Federal Government celebrates, and Scott Morrison pats himself on the back, it’s important to not overlook the fact that youth unemployment rates are currently sitting at 11 per cent, more than double the national average.

What’s more, if you look into the data, it’s not an equal playing field for job seekers in Australia, especially if you’re seeking a low-skilled entry level job.

The Anglicare Australia Job Availability Snapshot, released on Thursday, has called for urgent reform of employment services, with a more tailored and individualised approach taking into account a person’s situation, strengths and goals.

Major findings included:

●There are at least four jobseekers competing for each low-skilled, entry-level job;

●More than 714000 people are unemployed, and 110735 are facing barriers to work;

●Of the 185662 job vacancies advertised, less than 26000 were low-skilled entry-level jobs, and;

●These jobs are drying up — they have halved as a percentage of job advertisements since 2006.

Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers also acknowledged there was a unique set of challenges facing young people, caught in a Catch-22, not having enough experience to get a job, with no jobs available to get the experience needed.

Such is the experience of many people I know personally, with many now facing the issue of underemployment; being over qualified and taking part in jobs requiring lower skills.

So now we also have an added dilemma that the lower-skilled are not just competing with other lower-skilled job seekers but with those who possess higher skills than they do.

The stats tell us that in August the unemployment rate for all 20 to 64-year-olds was 4.7percent, but for those holding a bachelor degree or higher it was just 3.1percent.

It’s just a bit of a mess really, with the statistics showing we need to be creating the right kind of jobs in growing industries, rather than simply pushing people through education into fields showing a decrease in employment.

In the Goulburn Valley, we’re seeing some real positives with many steps being taken by local tertiary educators to provide relevant and essential training opportunities.

With the implementation of free and new TAFE courses in 2019, I look forward to seeing an increase of local people gaining meaningful employment in our region and fighting the Australian unemployment trends in our patch.

Ash Witoslawski is a News journalist.