Australia is weathering the unemployment storm better than other developed nations such as the US and UK, but the long-term unemployed are still facing significant hurdles from employers unwilling to give them a shot.
Yet, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australia has the fourth-highest proportion of jobless families in the developed world, and Treasurer Wayne Swan has said the statistic is alarming.
In the May budget, the federal government announced its new incentive for employers to hire long-term unemployed people, which 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 a reluctance by employers to hire the long-term unemployed.
A recent survey has 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 discrimination against the long-term unemployed.
Jerome Ternynck, SmartRecruiters CEO, said there appears to be an unwritten rule that unemployed candidates aren’t qualified.
“Our survey revealed that 55% of recruiters and HR managers have ‘personally experienced resistance’ when presenting qualified yet unemployed candidates to clients/colleagues,” Ternyck added.
The SmartRecruiters 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”.
Owner and director of Benz Communications, Isabelle Englund-Geiger, 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.