Anglicare Australia released its 2022 Jobs Availability Snapshot in December. The report looks at the availability of entry level jobs, which are most suitable for people facing entrenched unemployment, with the number of jobseekers who face the most barriers to employment. This includes older workers unemployed later in life, people with disability, and young people without training or further education.
The 2022 Snapshot found for every entry-level job in WA, there are 15 active jobseekers. Three of those are facing significant barriers to workforce entry. This data shows the reality of WA’s jobs market: despite the state’s unemployment rate at historic lows, for the cohort of people locked out of the job market, the situation remains the same.
However, we argue the state’s employers have a once-in-a-generation opportunity. By working with State and Federal Government, organisations can help break the cycle of entrenched unemployment.
This problem must be tackled from both directions: by reducing barriers to entry-level jobs and increasing the skills of the people facing those barriers.
We need to create genuine entry-level pathways to employment, enabling people to find and keep their jobs. The only way to truly support them into the workforce is through concerted initiatives to remove the barriers that have been preventing them finding work.
Investing in the care industry would also help address the issue; meaningful jobs, in the fastest growing industry in the country, combined with solid career opportunities. This presents a genuine opportunity to connect people with barriers to employment with entry-level jobs, which in turn lead to long-term careers in sectors with a high demand for workers.
While those pathways will take time to create, in the meantime, we need to focus on getting people ready to enter the workforce. The more people we can upskill, the greater the chances they will eventually find sustainable employment. The McGowan Government’s investment in free and reduced-fee TAFE and vocational training placements is an example of a significant step forward in moving West Australians out of entrenched unemployment.