Childcare cost and old age bias keeps people out of work

A perceived bias of employers against older job candidates is one of the key factors keeping almost two million people out of the workforce, a new Australian Bureau of Statistics study has revealed.

There are 1.7 million people in Australia – 60% of whom are women – who would like a job or want to work more hours than at present, according to the ABS’s Multi-Purpose Household Survey.

Of these, some 800,000 said despite wanting a new job they were not actively searching for one, primarily because they were caring for children or studying.

Of those involved in childcare – 96% of whom are women – almost half said that they would prefer to work than look after their children, while 21% reported issues with the cost of childcare, 14% with its availability.

And a surprisingly large proportion of the 800,000 11%, or 85,700 workers, and mostly men – said they had given up on the job hunt even though they wanted to work because they were “considered too old by employers.”

Among the more than 500,000 people who are out there searching for a job, a lack of the necessary qualifications or skills was the biggest barrier to employment, accounting for the joblessness or under-employment of 15%.

A lack of jobs with suitable working conditions was a problem for 12%, as was the absence of jobs in the searcher’s area or line of work.


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