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Business Sciences and Management Journal (BSMJ), Volume 2, Aug 2017

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Australia is currently enjoying one of the lowest unemployment rates at 4.9% (ABS, 2011) and current public discussion is on the skilled labour force shortage. However, for many people they continue to be unemployed for extended period of time or simply become not in the labour force as they stop actively looking for work. This paper presents findings from a mixed method research study undertaken in four different states in Australia from 2009 to 2011. It involves consultation with service providers and stakeholders on their experience of working with long-term jobless individuals; and the individuals themselves on their experience of being jobless. The methodology used consisted of one-to-one interviews; focus groups discussion; and completion of an anonymous survey instruments. Data was collected from 200 individuals and over 100 stakeholders. The issues explored included barriers of using the service(s); challenges for individuals in gaining employment; gaps in services provided; and how well the services work together. A number of barriers identified have been described by other research but others, such as their being too many applicants, being considered too old for the job, or the need to have a car and a licence to simply be considered for a job. Multi-methods were described by jobless as having been used to try to source employment, such as on-line ads, in contrast to those detailed by service providers. The other findings was the growing expectations of prospective employers in terms of language, education and other abilities; and lack of disability or injury, of prospective employees given their economic pressures of rising insurance premiums. The findings of this study are significant in providing some direction to policy makers in assisting this increasingly forgotten group and the growing public debate in Australia and other countries to further tighten the requirements imposed on this group of social security recipients.

Author(s): KATHY TANNOUS Ian Caddy Dennis Mortimer
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