HR failing the long-term unemployed

With the number of long-term unemployed swelling by 80% over the past five years, one group representing non-profit job agencies is calling for a formal federal inquiry.

HR failing the long-term unemployed

With the number of long-term unemployed swelling by 80% over the past five years, one group representing non-profit job agencies is calling for a formal federal inquiry.

According to Jobs Australia, some 590,000 people have been unemployed for more than 12 months, and 140,000 of that number for more than three years.

The organisation has made a submission to the federal government which would see the Productivity Commission conduct an inquiry into what’s causing the problem. Jobs Australia has said that instances of placements aren’t converting into long-term employment, and noted in a report that the participation rate is falling – some 106,000 people are no longer looking for a job because they do not believe they will find one. “If we want to prevent a blowout in unemployment and all its social and economic consequences, we need to take a hard look at three systems that work together to support people who lose their jobs and help them back into work,” the submission reads.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has submitted to the government that incentives across various modes of employment must be extended if employers are to transition the long-term unemployed into full-time, ongoing employment.

Jerome Ternynck, SmartRecruiters CEO, said there appears to be an unwritten rule that unemployed candidates aren’t qualified. SmartRecruiters recently conducted research into the factors causing employer reluctance – and the results were mixed. “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 survey found 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.

Related Story: Criminals welcome but not the long-term unemployed

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