Jobactive deemed unhelpful
New research suggests appointments with unemployment services do little to help people get a job.
A Monash University study for the Victorian Trades Hall Council has found appointments with ‘jobactive’, Australia's current unemployment services, are not effective at getting unemployed people into a job.
The study - based on focus groups of unemployed and recently employed Australians - found little support for the claim that these employment services help people to find work, or that 'jobactive' helps them improve their competitiveness in the job market.
Instead, people report that attending appointments causes them psychological distress, with many saying they keep attending only for fear of losing their benefits and becoming homeless, or not having enough to eat.
The report found that last year, more than 93 per cent of sanctions applied to beneficiaries in Australia arose from their failure to meet their job-hunting obligations.
This was despite “little support for the claim that these employment services helped people to find work, or that Jobactive helps them improve their competitiveness in the job market”, the study says.
“Unemployed workers say appointments have little utility for advancing elements of mutual obligation and are psychologically harmful,” the report by Monash University's David O'Halloran, Louise Farnworth and Nikos Thomacos says.
“Non‐attendance may be a form of self‐protection, although seeking a medical exemption or dropping out of the system altogether also appears to be a common self‐protection strategy.”
The researchers say, contrary to past claims by the Minister of Employment that appointments are “not onerous and are designed to maximise the chances of a person moving from welfare to work”; this study’s findings suggest the opposite.