Where the jobs are and where they aren’t

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Sean Scully and Omar Noureddine had difficulties finding employment without work experience. Photo: Janie Barrett Unity Omoregie eventually found work as a personal care assistant after being unemployed for a long period of time. Photo: Penny Stephens
Nanjing Night Net

Corey Fredrickson at the Anglicare youth centre in Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares

Corey Fredrickson at the Anglicare youth centre in Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares

 There is only one job advertised for every six low-skilled job seekers who are increasingly excluded from the workforce, raising concerns about a growing number of Australians forced to live below the poverty line.

A new report to be released on Monday shows there were 138,044 people competing for 21,812 entry-level jobs advertised nationally in May.

The snapshot shows only 13 per cent of all jobs advertised in May were at the entry level, requiring year 10 or equivalent education. More than 37 per cent jobs now require a bachelor degree or higher qualification.

The Anglicare Australia report: Positions Vacant? When The Jobs Aren’t There, shows a total of 732,000 Australians were registered as unemployed and an estimated 875,200 were underemployed in June. An average 168,896 jobs are advertised each month.

The June snapshot shows there is just one advertised position for every four people overall who are unemployed and every nine who are looking for work, including those who are underemployed.

Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said it was now almost impossible to find a job without a degree, year 12 education or workplace experience.

“There is almost a bracket creep where jobs are increasing on the complexity scale which makes it very difficult for people to enter the job market for the first time,” she said.

“[T]he report shows that a significant proportion of people who genuinely want to work are unable to find suitable employment.”

The competition is so fierce, many find it impossible to get a foot in the door without assistance.

Sean Scully and Omar Noureddine had difficulties finding employment without work experience. Photo: Janie Barrett

Sean Scully, 19, of Doonside, has been unable to find work since completing the Higher School Certificate in 2014 because of a lack of work experience.

“For the year after the HSC I shuffled between looking for work and volunteering and doing IT-related studies at TAFE,” he said.

“I have been trying to get a job but you need qualifications to get in and experience in the field.”

Sean started a paid traineeship at Anglicare’s PC trouble-shooting call centre in Botany last year.

“It has given me more skills in communicating and resolving computer IT problems over the phone,” he said.

“I’m also working on a Certificate III in IT.”

Omar Noureddine, 21, from Padstow, who completed his HSC in 2012 is also working at the call centre as part of Anglicare’s Work Ventures traineeship program.

“From the moment I left school, I’ve been trying to find something, but everyone wants experience and qualifications,” he said.

“I am hoping this experience and qualifications I am now getting will allow me to get a job in IT.”

After arriving in Australia as a refugee from Nigeria in July 2013, Unity Omoregie applied for countless jobs around Victoria without success after completing an aged care Certificate III course.

“They kept saying I needed more experience, but I didn’t know who could give me that first job,” he said.

In September last year, Mr Omoregie joined the Given the Chance program delivered by the Brotherhood of St Laurence in partnership with aged care provider Benetas.

He and two other refugee job seekers were chosen for a six-month job trial which led to a full-time job in March at the Benetas Gladswood Lodge facility in Brunswick West.

Unity Omoregie eventually found work as a personal care assistant after being unemployed for a long period of time. Photo: Penny Stephens

“As a new graduate with an aged care certificate, I needed experience in a nursing home,” he said.

“Benetas gave me that experience.”

Andrew Jamieson, learning and organisational development manager at Benetas, said the program was a big investment “but a worthwhile investment when you see the result”.

“That is the first time we have done it and we were pleased to offer ongoing employment to all three of the participants at Benetas,” Mr Jamieson said.

“We have three other disadvantaged job seekers commencing at another facility this year.

“The organisation is committed to a diverse workforce and to giving people who are marginalised a career in aged care.”

Ms Chambers said a greater investment was needed in jobs market growth and in helping disadvantaged job seekers develop skills and experience.

“We’ve heard from young people who had applied for 100 jobs and had not got any of them,” she said.

“The report shows evidence from our network agencies that people are facing barriers to employment as a result of widespread economic upheaval.”

The report says competition for low-skill entry-level jobs is increasing as the proportion of jobs at this level shrinks.

“If the goal is to provide real pathways to participation in the workforce for all people with the capacity, it is fruitless to simply expect this imbalance to resolve itself,” the report says.

The Anglicare report suggests governments could play a role by creating sustainable entry-level job opportunities when they contract public services. It says long-term investment and local solutions are needed.

“An imaginative response might be to look to targeting public and private investment at the creation of such entry level or low skill positions,” the report says.

The report debunks the assumption that people who remain unemployed are not prepared to work.

“While there are some appropriate jobs in the labour market, there are simply not enough to cater for the number of people with limited skills and experience who are looking for work,” it says.

Anglicare recently commissioned research showing that people relying on income support such as the Newstart and Youth allowances are likely to be in housing stress and have insufficient food.

Corey Fredrickson at the Anglicare youth centre in Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares

Among them is Corey Fredrickson, 24, who has relied on food supplies from Anglicare in Canberra and housing through a St Vincent’s de Paul refuge.

Mr Fredrickson, originally from Brisbane, did not complete year 10 and is keen to work but has found it impossible to find a job without qualifications.

“It’s mainly experience that people want,” Mr Fredrickson said. “When you don’t have a certain amount of experience, you can’t really do much.”

He worked at a butcher shop for three months until September when his boss decided he didn’t need his services anymore.

“I was cleaning the trays and serving people. It was pretty good. Then we had a new boss who said he wanted servers and butchers but not cleaners,” he said.

Last year, his job as a chef at the Australian Defence Force academy ended after about four months when his mother died.

The Anglicare report says the government has criticised as “unimaginative” a campaign by peak social service bodies such as ACOSS for the Newstart Allowance to be lifted above the poverty line.

“It requires only a little imagination however to see how destructive and unhelpful it is – socially and economically – for government to ignore the consequences of such endemic poverty and to refuse to accept any responsibility for it and the structural exclusion it reflects,” the report says.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.