An annual report by Anglicare Australia has found that disadvantaged Australians are competing against more qualified candidates for entry-level jobs.
The Jobs Availability Snapshot report showed that there is only a small pool of entry-level positions available.
The Guardian reported that for every entry-level job, 4.26 people face significant barriers to employment when applying for the position.
Applicants with more qualifications such as recent graduates and retrenched workers are making it harder for these disadvantaged jobseekers to be hired, according to Anglicare Australia.
“Over 1.13 million Australians were underemployed in our sample month, and some of them were likely to be applying for the same positions as entry-level jobseekers,” they said.
The number of entry-level jobs has declined by half since 2006.
Executive Director of Anglicare Kasy Chambers believes an increase to the Newstart allowance should be a first priority.
“To keep on punishing people for not getting into work that isn’t there seems to be absolutely irrational,” Chambers said.
She said the report shows that the employment services system Jobactive is taking an average of five years to help those in need find work.
“It’s failing those who need the most help…those without qualifications or recent experience,” she said.
“Low-skilled, entry-level jobs are slowly disappearing – and there aren’t enough of them to meet demand in any part of the country.”
Chambers said the toughest areas for jobseekers are South Australia and Tasmania.
“In South Australia, eight of these jobseekers are competing for each suitable job. And in Tasmania, there are a staggering twelve jobseekers for each suitable job,” she said.
The report also found that more than 714,000 people are unemployed, and 110,735 are facing barriers to work.
In addition, less than 26,000 of the 185,662 job vacancies advertised were low-skilled entry-level jobs.
Chambers said if nothing changes then the situation will continue to make it hard for disadvantaged jobseekers to find work.
“These changes are urgent. If we don’t fix this broken system, we will go on forcing people to compete for jobs that simply aren’t there.”