A joint roundtable stemming from the new collaboration between the ACTU, ACOSS, and the BCA found there are major barriers towards getting unemployed people into jobs and discussed the potential for new approaches such as ‘demand-led’ employment to meet the needs of both employers and people disadvantaged in the labour market.

The roundtable, held on December 13 and attended by 27 experts from business, unions, the community, and other sectors concluded that:

  • The job support system should allow for employers and job service providers to work in partnership, often over long periods of time. The roundtable noted that the complexity of the current system, and the payment incentives under the current Job Services Australia (JSA) providers are seen as a barrier to developing this type of partnership.
  • Incentives should be geared towards finding a sustainable match between employers and jobseekers, rather than placing the jobseeker in the first job available, which may not be suitable for their skills and aptitudes.
  • There is a need to improve the training system to provide more on-the-job training and work experience to jobseekers, who do not always learn well in a classroom environment.
  • The first-of-its-kind alliance between the three organisations was established earlier this month to tackle entrenched disadvantage by working collaboratively towards providing employment opportunities for people who are disadvantaged in the labour market, and giving employers access to workers who meet their skills needs.

    The roundtable discussed how the employment services system can be configured to better serve the needs of both employers and disadvantaged jobseekers, and what new structures and incentives are required to achieve this.

    “There was general agreement among the participants that more needs to be done to facilitate best practice demand-led approaches to employment services,” said ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie, acting as spokesperson for the Alliance.

    “Demand-led approaches are characterised by deep employer and community engagement, combined with a commitment to improving employment, retention and progression outcomes for disadvantaged jobseekers and to meet employer needs. We are pleased that much progress was made,” Dr Goldie said.

    “Our three organisations intend to use the outcomes of the roundtable to promote the greater use of best practice demand-led approaches to assist disadvantaged jobseekers finding sustainable and decent work. This is an integral part of the three organisations’ alliance to reduce entrenched disadvantage.

    “ACOSS, the ACTU and the BCA will also use the information to feed into the federal government’s work to improve how Job Services Australia meets the needs of jobseekers and employers,” Dr Goldie said.