HR failing the long-term unemployed

by Stephanie Zillman18 Apr 2013

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


  • by Shane Higgins 18/04/2013 3:47:00 PM

    That almost a third of hiring managers think job seekers are unemployed for a reason is a sad indicment on the intellience and logic of this profession. And almost a quarter assuming that they probably weren't qualified. What garbage. CEO's/Boards and the like need to make sure that their hiring managers have an attitude that is best for their business which certainly does not include the above. Discrimination and bias without logic has no place in the recruitment world where appropriate processes are followed and decisions made.
    Hopefully this article will change some of that. Somehow I doubt it.

  • by Wayne Pryor 18/04/2013 5:43:03 PM

    Wayne Pryor • There doesn't need to be an enquiry of any sort there are plenty of people here on LinkedIn that have been saying for a very long time and continue to say that they can tell some HR ( Recruitment ) and the government right now what needs to be done.

    1. minutes on Linkedin and the question is already well and truly answered it's the willingness of some HR ( Recruitment ) to accept what many people have been saying for a very long time needs to be done and the government to be willing to have the backbone to stand up for and enforce what needs to be done.

    But is either likely to happen...........I very much doubt it remember that would involve people actually having to accept that they have to change their ways and governments NEVER hold any type of enquiry unless they already know the outcome or can manufacture the findings and the outcome that they want.

    An enquiry into the long term unemployed will never happen it would be a huge waste of tax payers money, because that would actually mean that the government would have to admit that it has been fudging the unemployment figures for a very long time and telling untruths, they would also have to admit that the anti discrimination minister Susan Ryan and the employment minister Kate Ellis have not been doing their jobs, it would also require a huge systemic change in Center link not to mention the clean out of all the dead wood once again that will never happen and we all know that there is no way on earth that ANY government from either side is EVER going risk doing that it would be to politically unpopular.

    It would be a political bomb shell, it would be letting the geni out of the bottle

    Remember the old saying that governments of both sides use

    If you don't want to hear the answer then don't ask the question in the first place.

    Sad but True.and so the long term unemployed numbers will continue to climb and continue to swell whilst some HR ( Recruitment ) and the entire government continues to look the other way and pretend that they are doing a great job and all is great in Australia,

  • by Anita Lee 19/04/2013 10:24:06 AM

    Assuming someone isn't qualified just because they are unemployed is a very big assumption. My experience with long term unemployed people was harrowing to say the least. I had 130 of them on my client list. The biggest problem I found?? Mental illness generated from BEING unemployed.
    Severe depression, self doubt/hate, severe lack of confidence, fear of the workplace (particularly in the case of redundancies, and sometimes dismissal) - so many negatives that were nearly impossible to erase in order for a person to go to an interview with confidence and able to sell them selves.
    It is a very very nasty and consuming web. A bit more compassion, a lot less assuming about people, and we would all be better off.

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