Employment services provided by the Federal Government through Jobactive and disability services networks need to be employer/demand-focused and deliver services to more employers than under the current system. The employment service provider needs to have two clients: the jobseeker and the employer. This will benefit everyone involved.

Finding jobs for the most disadvantaged would be easier if the provider had more jobs available and offered a broader service. Service providers need to work in partnership with industry organisations to improve the profile and scope of the service to employers.

Assisting disadvantaged people to get and keep a job benefits the individual, their employer and the whole economy and society. The Australian Chamber’s Employ Outside the Box initiative promotes to enterprises the business case for employing jobseekers from marginalised groups, including young people, indigenous people, people with disability and mature-age jobseekers. This educational approach is more effective than quotas imposed on employers, as it emphasises the benefit without unnecessary regulation.

Many disadvantaged people need support to transition into work. Employment outcomes can be improved with a pre-employment focus on language, literacy, numeracy and employability skills, along with post-placement support in the form of mentoring and the provision of vocational skills.

Greater efficiency in the labour market can be achieved through a strong emphasis on career development. Governments and enterprises develop skills and invest in education and training. But the return on investment can be limited if the individual is not suitable for the chosen career path. Understanding the requirements and job opportunities of an occupation is important for school leavers, and anyone thinking of changing careers.

The Australian Chamber’s employment policies include:

  • Better focus of employment services on understanding and satisfying the needs of employers in each industry including providers working in partnership with industry bodies, and in the medium to long term, on mechanisms to better serve the needs of job seekers and employers through services dedicated to each group with strong interfaces.
  • Achieve increased workforce participation and diversity through promoting and investing in positive programs such as Employ Outside the Box and UN Women’s Empowerment Principles rather than through regulatory and negative impositions of quotas and reporting.
  • Continue to pursue stronger policies that improve the transition for young people from education to work including a well-designed Youth Jobs PaTH program, better career development, improving job readiness, promoting apprenticeships and improving workplace regulation.
  • Support mutual obligation requirements in the welfare system, and promote work as the best option.
  • Improve access to better and affordable child care by targeting subsidies to lower income earners and providing options for others through subsidies for nannies, the development of new visa arrangements for au pairs and the opportunity to apply for HECS-HELP style loans to provide assistance to parents during the years of maximum child care costs.
  • Continue to emphasise the importance of developing career skills and an informed market, including the need for life long access to information and advice which is industry informed.
  • Encourage greater collaboration between Federal and State and Territory Governments so that employment assistance programs are better coordinated.

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