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Oct 14, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has added another hurdle for Western Australians struggling to find work, with the Anglicare Jobs Availability Snapshot 2020 showing the competition for entry level, low-skilled work has increased state-wide.

In WA, the Snapshot showed more than nine appropriately qualified applicants are competing for every job requiring minimal training and work experience in May, an increase from seven last year. Nationally this year, seven disadvantaged job seekers are competing for each entry-level position.

However, the Snapshot indicates the actual competition for low-skilled work is far greater as they are also competing with higher skilled applicants who have lost their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19. When the total number of job seekers is considered, 106 applicants are vying for every available job.

Anglicare WA CEO Mark Glasson said continued activity in resources and construction in WA is hiding the gaping loss of work across other sectors, such as aviation, tourism, hospitality, arts and clerical.

“We’re seeing people who are overqualified for these entry-level positions competing with long-term unemployed, who lack the recent experience of the newly unemployed and are missing out on the job opportunities,” explained Mr Glasson.

“The cohort of under-employed also continues to grow, with more than 1.7 million Australians in need of more work to make ends meet.”

“Last week’s State Budget confirmed 23 percent of jobs lost in WA due to the COVID-19 impact still haven’t been recovered, with women regaining work at a lesser rate as men.”

Mr Glasson said the recent State and Federal Budgets had two issues to address: to get people back into work and to provide an adequate safety net in the meantime. Both failed. 

“Despite appearing to invest in new job creation, both governments have used their budget to prop up the construction industry, whilst incentives to encourage private sector to recruit unemployed young people have a long lead-in period.

“Government investment in job creation is critical and cannot simply be left to private sector. The Coronavirus pandemic has uncovered a need for urgent investment in job creation in the care sector, such as aged care and disability services.

“In the meantime, anyone who is currently unemployed has recently had their JobSeeker payment drop below the poverty line and are anxiously facing a return to $40 a day when the Coronavirus supplement ends after Christmas.

“Our most vulnerable have been let down, and unless the Federal Government acts swiftly to establish JobSeeker as a genuine safety net, we are rapidly headed for a perfect storm, of rampant poverty, rising homelessness and social instability.”

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