The latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows an in increase job vacancies by 0.7 per cent in February, showing a turn around from a previous spate of declines.

The ABS findings come after the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) released findings that show medium sized companies are increasingly looking to expand operations.

The CBA’s Future Business Index found companies are reporting a far more confident outlook for business conditions over the next six months and are reporting strong expectations for increases in revenue.

Research conducted by the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and the University of Canberra (UC) has found the number of unfair dismissal claims taken by employees under Labor’s Fair Work Act has increased.

The New South Wales Government has announced intentions to cut spending to WorkCover after a PriceWaterhouseCoopers audit report found the agency was over $4 billion in deficit. The audit found that the agency had recorded a $1.7 billion blowout in its debt in the past six months.

Safe Work Australia has released a draft framework of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 for an eight-week public comment period.

The Australian Industry Group (AI Group) has urged the Federal Government to move cautiously as it establishes a Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate to take over the work of the now defunct Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Canadian HR software giant Halogen has opened its first office in Sydney to meet growing demand for its services in the Asia Pacific market.

The Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committees will undertake an inquiry into the Skills Australia Amendment (Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency) Bill 2012   which seeks to establish the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, an industry-led national workforce and productivity agency, to replace Skills Australia.

In September 2011, there were almost 6.0 million people, or a third (33%) of all Australians aged 15 years and over not in the labour force according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Over half (52%) of people not in the labour force were aged 60 years or over. Nearly two-thirds (60%) were women. 

Of the 900,000 people who were not in the labour force, who wanted work and were available to start within 4 weeks, there were 90,700 discouraged job seekers (52,300 men and 59,500 women). These are people who wanted to work and were also available to start work in the next four weeks, but were not actively looking for a job because they believed they would not find one. The number of discouraged job seekers decreased again in 2011, down from 102,000 in 2010 after a peak of 111,800 workers in 2009.

Discouraged job seekers reported that their main reason for giving up looking for work was that they were 'Considered too old by employers' (36%). This was followed by 'Lacked necessary skills, training or experience' (16%). Over half of discouraged job seekers (56%) were aged over 55 years; while a further 13% were aged under 24 years.

There were 247,600 women not in the labour force because they were caring for children who wanted to work but were not actively looking for work. They cited preferring to look after children and cost of child care as the main reasons for not looking for work.

The proportion of 25–34 year olds not in the labour force who are attending an educational institution has been rising steadily. In 2011, 19% (99,900) of 25–35 year olds reported 'Attending an educational institution' as their main activity when not in the labour force. This was up from 17% in 2009 and 14% in 2007.

Australians are increasingly happier with their jobs, with job satisfaction increasing across the board according to CareerOne.com.au’s Hidden Hunters Report.  

The Australian Government is calling on interested organisations and individuals to provide feedback on purchasing arrangements for Employment Support Services delivered through Disability Employment Services.

The Federal Government has passed legislation that will abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) through the Senate.

Legislation has been passed through Parliament to increase the Superannuation Guarantee Levy from 9% to 12%.

Curtin Business School (CBS) has appointed leading human resources specialist Chris Ryan as an Adjunct Professor.

 

Mr Ryan, an independent director and corporate advisor, has more than 25 years’ experience in the human resource sector, including leading the HR team during Wesfarmers’ takeover of the Coles group in 2007.

 

CBS Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Tony Travaglione, said Mr Ryan’s appointment would build on a relationship that was started three years ago.

 

“Since joining the CBS School of Management Advisory Board in 2009, Chris has provided valuable guidance in the area of human resources,” Professor Travaglione said.

 

“We will continue to work closely with Chris to receive advice on strategic issues and to foster closer links with key industry players.”

 

Mr Ryan said his appointment was an opportunity to increase his contribution to the growth of CBS.

 

“Through my association with the Advisory Board I have come to appreciate the professional and pragmatic approach taken in both the management of CBS and the delivery of its education programs,” Mr Ryan said.

 

“This approach is very much aligned with my own business ethos,” he said.

 

Mr Ryan said he was looking forward to working with CBS students through student engagement programs.

 

“Throughout my career I have worked with some outstanding leaders,” he said. “I hope to be able to share some of the knowledge gained through those experiences in areas such as organisational strategy and the development of leaders.”

 

Mr Ryan’s advisory practice, CRHR, works with Boards and CEOs on HR strategies, senior talent management, remuneration strategies and acquisition and restructuring projects.

More than 210,000 workers and job seekers will be assisted by the Federal Government's foundation skills programs over the next four years.

The Federal Government has passed the Road Safety Remuneration Bill through the House of Representatives, and it is expected to pass comfortably through the Senate with the support of the Greens.

The Federal Government has announced a $25 million fund to help local people fight joblessness and poverty.

The Federal Government has lodged its submission to the Annual Wage Review of Fair Work Australia, reiterating its position that any wage increase to the National Minimum Wage and award wages in 2012 be in line with living costs and other economic changes.

British psychiatrist Dr Sam Harvey has been appointed to the first dedicated clinical research post into workplace mental health in an Australian university.

 

Dr Harvey joins the University of New South Wales from the Institute of Psychiatry in London, which is Europe’s largest mental health research facility.

 

The new position, funded by the NSW Ministry of Health, is based at UNSW’s School of Psychiatry and the Black Dog Institute. Dr Harvey’s initial research will focus on NSW Emergency Workers.

 

Within Australia, six million working days a year are lost due to depression, which translates into an annual financial cost of $12.3 billion through lost work, reduced productivity and increased staff turnover.

 

More importantly, the occupational impact of mental illness means sufferers endure the additional stigma of worklessness, social isolation, impaired career trajectories and financial pain. 

 

“Despite the size of the problem, there is much still to be learnt about the relationship between work and mental health,” Dr Harvey said.

 

“As our understanding of these issues increases, we aim to develop a series of workplace-based interventions that will be able to increase workers’ resilience and prevent disorders. We also hope to develop systems and pathways to help aid early identification and promote rapid recovery when problems do occur.”

 

Head of UNSW’s School of Psychiatry Professor Phil Mitchell said: “This is a very timely appointment as workplace managers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of mental illness in their work settings. This new workplace mental health research program represents an exciting new collaborative venture between the state government, UNSW and the Black Dog Institute".

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) review of Commonwealth legislation and policies that create barriers for older people participating in the work force has begun.

The Australian Industry Group has applied to Fair Work Australia for changes to the Model Award Flexibility Clause - a term of all modern awards - which would allow individual award covered employees to agree with their employers on flexible leave arrangements including the cashing-out of annual leave.

Australian-born multinationals are investing more in holding onto their key people than foreign-owned firms in an effort to fight the brain drain, according to a new study.

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