Automotive Redundancies Too Many for NFP Service

Australia’s publicly-funded employment services are inflexible and inadequately resourced to deal with an influx of redundant workers from the car manufacturing sector, according to the peak body for Not for Profit employment service providers, Jobs Australia.

Jobs Australia CEO David Thompson, has warned that the funding model was designed for a different set of economic circumstances than those that Australia is presently facing. “Under the Job Services Australia funding model, providers receive some money up front and then some more if they get people into work,” Thompson said. “Performance-based payments provide a strong incentive for providers to get people into jobs as quickly as possible, but it also means that when jobs decline, so does the level of resourcing”.

He said that in the past year, a decline in the number of vacancies being advertised had coincided with a decline in the rate of job placements achieved under Job Services Australia, stretching providers’ finances. “Employment services are already working with a very tight labour market and that has meant that some have had to run their Job Services Australia contracts at a loss,” he said. “If we want our employment services to help smooth the very bumpy economic transition Australia is about to go through, then we’re going to need to re-think the way we do things”.

Job Services Australia providers already receive extra funding to help redundant automotive sector workers prepare a résumé and identify jobs and training opportunities through an Automotive Industry Structural Adjustment Program, which has been in place since 2008. “Clearly, what we’ve been doing isn’t going to be enough in the future,” Thompson said.

Jobs Australia is the national peak body representing the Not for Profit organisations that help disadvantaged people find work. It has previously called for a re-design of the employment services system, to make it more flexible and more responsive to the needs of both employers and job seekers. More information, including Jobs Australia’s position paper Reforming Employment Assistance: A Blueprint for the Future is available here.

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Jobs Australia CEO David Thompson, will be a keynote presenter at the Australian Long-term Unemployment Conference in August on the Gold Coast.