Business group wants casual workers included in job seeker programs

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on the federal government to include casual workers in job seeker programs to make the programs more business-friendly.

In its submission to the government’s review of the $5.2 billion job matching system, ACCI criticises the Job Services Australia system, which only 7% of employers now use.

“The focus of the existing Job Services Australia system is almost exclusively on the jobseekers, meeting their immediate needs, providing links to training and referrals to available positions vacant,” the submission states.

“ACCI believes that this narrow focus has led to employer disenfranchisement with the Job Services system.”

Jenny Lambert, director of employment, education and training at ACCI, told SmartCompany the system is not working.

“The main problem with Job Services Australia is there is not a balance between focusing on the employer and employee’s side, not enough employers use the jobs network,” she says.

“Employment services need to be more focused on employer’s needs and what the employment market is saying. It needs to be more of a balance between supply and demand side.”

Lambert says any work experience, whether it is work-for-the-dole scheme through to casual employment or permanent employment, can lead to greater employability of those seeking work.

“The more encouragement in the system to incentivise employers, the better,” Lambert says.

“At the moment a lot of good experience can be gained in industries with seasonal work or industries like hospitality where casual work is more prevalent. The road to achieve permanent employment should be broadened.”

ACCI wants the government to minimise the limitations on those that can opt out of working for the dole or gaining work experience while on payments.

“It would mean allowing good casual work included in the definition of what people should be placed in,” Lambert says.

According to Lambert, the main benefit for small to medium businesses would be to be able to get a better job match service from employment services.

“The job services are not in any way widely used by small to medium size businesses. They need to be brought back into the mainstream to provide SMEs with a good avenue to broaden their pool of potential employees,” she says.



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