Five entry-level workers are competing for each advertised job in Australia: report

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Employees of WM Motor Technology Co., Ltd. work at their office in shanghai, China, August 1, 2016. Reuters/Aly Song

A recent report has found that entry-level jobs are vanishing from the Australian labour market. For each job being advertised, five entry-level workers are now competing to get it.

A new jobs availability snapshot was released by Anglicare Australia on Thursday examining jobs advertised and unemployment figures from May 2017. Based on the figures from the aforementioned sample month, there were 124,000 jobseekers who were only qualified for entry-level jobs. They were competing for 25,979 entry-level jobs advertised, according to the snapshot.

Another finding is that the number of entry-level jobs was dropping. In 2006, around 22 percent of advertised jobs were entry-level. This is comparable to 15 percent this year. The report also highlights the number of underemployed Australians, which climbed from 875,200 in 2016 to 1.1 million this year. There were 711,900 unemployed competing for a total of 171,544 advertised jobs in May.

Roland Manderson, deputy director of Anglicare Australia, said it was basically about a “whole mob of people who are excluded from the workforce” and have little chance of being hired. “We’re blaming people for their circumstances, and I think we do it to avoid blaming ourselves.”

Anglicare’s executive director Kasy Chambers said the report indicates that punishing welfare recipients was ineffective, and argued that it showed cracking down on welfare and forcing people to jump through hoops simply has not worked. They are forced to compete for jobs that simply aren’t there instead of helping people find real ones.

The findings come as the government pushes ahead with changes to the welfare system, including drug testing of welfare recipients, cuts to a bereavement allowance and a new demerit point system for the failure to meet mutual obligations.

Furthermore, there are chances that wife pension payments will be abolished for around 200 women living overseas. The government also reportedly plans to remove “intent to claim provisions,” which protect people entitled to welfare but are not able to lodge a full claim.

The Anglicare report has some recommendations, including raising Newstart and Youth Allowance rates. It also suggests dismantling the system of mutual obligation and punishment and supporting industries with entry-level jobs like aged care and disability.

Chambers said there is hope and opportunity. “With the disability and aged-care sectors set to grow across Australia, we can create stable jobs and career pathways for those who need them,” The Guardian quotes Chambers as saying.

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