Launch of The Jobs Agenda to tackle the big issues around jobs

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The Workible Network has partnered with recruitment giant Chandler Macleod to launch The Jobs Agenda, an initiative to unleash the potential of Australia’s workforce by tackling the challenges that hold people back from getting into work.

Last Thursday, 46 leaders from the Government, Education, Industry and Corporate sectors as well as influencers in the HR technology, job advertising and startup spaces met at Bistrode in Sydney’s CBD to discuss the challenges Australia is facing as we move into a new way of work and the rising impact of technology on jobs.

The Workible Network Director, Fiona Anson, said that while unemployment is approximately 5.7% nationally, unemployment in regional areas, for younger people, mature age workers, those with disabilities and Indigenous Australians can be as high as 30%. Also citing under-employment as a growing issue, Fiona highlighted that one in eight Australians are currently under-employed and wanted or needed more work to make ends meet.

With approximately 5 million jobs estimated to be lost to technology in the coming decade, the aim of The Jobs Agenda is to bring to light the real issues people face in securing employment and to form collaborative cross-sector partnerships to explore and activate solutions that help get more people skilled up and into jobs that not only exist now but also those jobs that will exist in the future.

Tania Sinibaldi, Chandler Macleod’s COO of Staffing Services, who co-hosted the event with Fiona, discussed the issues surrounding employment in Australia, including automation, high unemployment, the changing nature of work and varying commitments to workplace diversity and inclusion. “Collectively we need to work together as employers, educators, influencers and industry leaders to establish a joint approach to creating jobs. We should be talking more about supply and demand, identifying skill sets required for future jobs and ensuring relevant training and education is available to all,” Ms Sinibaldi said.

Ms Sinibaldi also shared data from Chandler Macleod’s recent whitepaper on diversity, identifying that 54% of Australian employers and employees believe their organisation’s diversity is not reflective of the Australian population. “Unemployment and underemployment rates are still alarmingly high for Australia’s youth and for mature age workers – as it is for those in regional Australia, for those with disabilities and for Indigenous Australians. And concerningly, we still have a long way to go to achieve gender parity in Australian workplaces.” she said.

In a presentation to attendees at the launch, Fiona highlighted a Government focus on startups and STEM careers yet pointed out that there are existing industries where supply doesn’t meet demand. Illustrating with real-time national workforce data, Fiona showed an example of how the movement of millennials into the workforce is drastically increasing the demand for jobs in hospitality and retail, jobs that typically work for unskilled or semi-skilled young adults. The data from Workible’s National Workforce Indicators Report showed that the demand was far outstripped by a limited supply while in other industries such as professional services the trend was reversed. 

She also presented examples, derived from the data, of the impact that tertiary education and related experience had on getting graduates into work. The data showed that, for business students, those who had relevant work placement while studying got into a study-related job four times faster than those that did not, highlighting the need for real work experience to be integrated into existing learning frameworks.  Workible’s workforce analytics are drawn from the Workible Network, the largest connected network of job sites in Australia and all publicly available job data.

Fiona and Ms Sinibaldi describe The Jobs Agenda as an ongoing national initiative that brings together people who can do something about effecting change. “Both of our businesses, and the people who work in them, are passionate advocates for getting people into the jobs they want, regardless of age, race, ability, location and gender,” said Ms Sinibaldi, “and so we decided that we were the team to make it happen.”

Attendees at the event included representatives from Jobs For NSW, Data61, Westfield, Adzuna, UTS, UNSW, UOW, startup accelerator Slingshot, Right Click Capital, Dantia, Founders Institute, Yaanma Services, RCSA and major Australian employers.  Attendees were asked to make a pledge to addressing at least one of the issues around jobs in categories such as Indigenous, youth, mature age or regional employment, startups, diversity or education.

Fiona says that both Chandler Macleod and Workible are committed to creating a movement and that, through The Jobs Agenda, and will continue to prioritise getting commitments from employers in all sectors to take action around helping get people into work.

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