Small business to benefit from more skilled job applicants under digital overhaul of Jobactive system

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Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations Kelly O’Dwyer during Question Time in the House of Representatives in Canberra on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Source: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas.

Small businesses are set to be better placed to field applicants from the government’s Jobactive service after changes announced today by Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations Kelly O’Dwyer.

The sweeping changes to the service, which is designed to help struggling job seekers find work, will see it transform into a digital platform, making it easier for unemployed Australians to find and apply for jobs.

The new platform, which will be tested first in Adelaide and NSW, will allow job seekers to apply for jobs using their smartphone or PC via a self-service digital platform, and will also slash the requirement for unemployed people to apply for 20 positions a month, a stipulation which often left businesses swamped by low-quality or irrelevant job applications.

Under the newly proposed system, job seeking activity will instead be assessed by engagement in training opportunities and work experience placements, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

While the changes are largely focused on helping unemployed Australians find work, the government is also pitching the overhaul as a boon for Australia’s 2.1 million SMEs, who found the Jobactive system difficult to use and largely inefficient. The proposed system will allow employers to filter potential clients and search for specific candidates, along with services to facilitate work experience or job trial situations.

“The community rightly expects that people on welfare will do all they can to find work and mutual obligation requirements remain a central tenet of our approach,” O’Dwyer told SBS.

“But not only will our changes make mutual obligation activities more effective and targeted, it will reduce unsuitable applications to small businesses, reducing their burden and removing red tape.”

Savings from switching from a face-to-face model to online will be funnelled back into the Jobactive system, with the intention of better tailoring job suggestions. The government has entered into contracts with 41 different employment services providers for the service, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, at a cost of $6 billion over the next four years.

Australian small business ombudsman Kate Carnell supports the change, saying in a statement the new model will address some of the biggest problems for small businesses when trying to hire new staff.

“This means employers won’t waste time sorting through unsuitable job seekers who are just going through the motions to achieve the necessary number of job applications,” she said.

“Small-business owners spend long hours during the day working, so they might not have time to look for suitable candidates for their business until after hours. The new digital platform will give employers the flexibility to search for suitable employees at a time that’s convenient for them.”

“We support channelling the money saved by job-ready job seekers using a digital platform into providing more help for long-term unemployed people who are struggling to enter the job market.”

More information for employers can be found on the government’s website.

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