Australia’s skills shortage continues to alarm business leaders, HR strategic thinkers and the federal government – recent projections indicate Australia will need an additional 40,000 workers in the resources sector alone before 2020.
The federal government announced in last year’s budget its incentive for employers to hire long-term unemployed people. The program sees employers paid subsidies at the average rate of the dole for six months, as part of a drive to get 10,000 people back into the workforce.
Despite the $233m investment to break long-term welfare dependence, the ABS recorded reluctance by employers to hire the long-term unemployed.
A recent survey shed light on the common misconceptions believed by employers, and US based SmartRecruiters found that 82% of recruiters, hiring managers and HR professionals agreed there was an inherent prejudice towards the long-term unemployed. There appears to be an unwritten rule that unemployed candidates aren’t qualified, Jerome Ternynck from SmartRecruiters commented. “Our survey revealed that 55% of recruiters and HR managers have ‘personally experienced resistance’ when presenting qualified yet unemployed candidates to clients/colleagues,” Ternyck said.
The survey also showed that 29% of hiring managers believe that unemployed job seekers are “unemployed for a reason” and 23% said unemployed job seekers are “probably not qualified”.
Yet one business leader, Isabelle Englund-Geiger of Benz Communications, said she interviews unemployed candidates for every available position. “Discarding currently-unemployed candidates is very short-sighted. If we didn’t equally evaluate unemployed candidates, we would have missed out on many of our most successful hires, including our office manager, a senior-level bi-lingual writer and some of our top consultants,” Englund-Geiger said.
The federal government’s wage subsidy, Wage Connect, can help you offset the costs of wages and training for new employees for the first six months they are in the job. You may be eligible to receive a subsidy of approximately $5,700 for each job placement, or around $220 per week (pre-GST). The subsidy may be paid for longer in some circumstances.
What types of jobs can I offer?
You can offer any type of suitable work, as long as it:
is ongoing and sustainable and for at least 26 weeks
is under open employment conditions
guarantees the Wage Connect participant a weekly award based wage (for example, no commission based or subcontracting type positions)
is full-time — part-time positions can be offered in some circumstances.
How is the subsidy paid?
To claim the subsidy you’ll need to submit to an employment services provider evidence of the employment, including details of hours worked and wages paid. An employment services provider can provide you with further information on how and when to submit this evidence, as well as what information to include.
For more information on the subsidy, visit the wage subsidy fact page here.