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.

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.

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

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.

The ACTU has announced it will launch one of the biggest test cases in recent years by applying to Fair Work Australia to establish a new, fairer safety net for apprentices. It maintains that apprentice wages need to be urgently lifted to give young people a pathway to a secure job and to ensure Australia continues to have a skilled workforce.

The Australian Industry Group has  released a supplementary submission to the Fair Work Act Review in response to the unions' proposed changes to the Act.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released  new trainee wage calculators to help employers determine the rates of pay for trainees.

Recent research by the University of Sydney has found that many trade apprentices are living on a wage that falls below the poverty line, with many wages barely higher than the unemployment benefit.

Westpac has announced it will shed up to 126 jobs from its Australian operations, with the Financial Services Union  (FSU) claiming the bank plans to offshore the 119 technology roles and 7 collection roles.

Consult Australia has released results of a landmark benchmarking study into gender diversity within the engineering workforce, marking a critical first step by industry towards proactively overcoming the issue.

In September 2011, there were 11.6 million people employed in Australia. Of these people, 786,800 wanted to work more hours and were available, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The average number of extra hours preferred per week was 14.1 hours. 

The Productivity Commission has released its Default Superannuation Funds in Modern Awards inquiry issues paper, which intends to assist the public in preparing a submission to the Commission.

The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2012 has been introduced into Parliament.

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