Unemployment is at a low point in Australia that has not been seen in over 50 years.
This is great in terms of people being able to find work and earn a great salary. It’s not so great if you are an employer because skilled people are hard to find and are well-placed to negotiate in terms of their salary package.
To address the issue caused by low migration and very few international students (thanks COVID), the Australian Government held a Jobs Summit in early September. The goal of this summit was to:
- keep unemployment low, and boost productivity and incomes
- deliver secure, well-paid jobs and strong, sustainable wages growth
- expand employment opportunities for all Australians including the most disadvantaged
- address skills shortages and get Australia’s skills mix right over the long term
- improve migration settings to support higher productivity and wages
- maximise jobs and opportunities from renewable energy, tackling climate change, the digital economy, the care economy and a Future Made in Australia
- ensure women have equal opportunities and equal pay.
Here are some of the key announcements that followed the summit:
An additional $1 billion in joint Federal-State funding will go towards fee-free TAFE in 2023 and accelerated delivery of 465,000 fee-free TAFE places, with 180,000 to be delivered next year.
There will be improved access to jobs and training pathways for women, First Nations people, regional Australians and culturally and linguistically diverse people. This includes equity targets for training places, 1,000 digital apprenticeships in the Australian Public Service, and other measures to reduce barriers to employment.
The Government has also pledged to develop a comprehensive blueprint with
key stakeholders to support and grow a quality VET workforce.
Migration & Visas
An increase in the permanent Migration Program ceiling from 160,000 to 195,000 in 2022-23, should help to ease widespread, critical workforce shortages.
The extension of visas and relaxation of work restrictions on international students will hopefully strengthen the pipeline of skilled labour, and provide additional funding to resolve the visa backlog.
Increased duration of post-study work rights will allow two additional years of
stay for recent graduates with select degrees in areas of verified skills shortages
and strengthen the pipeline of skilled labour in Australia.
The Fair Work Act will be amended to strengthen access to flexible working arrangements, while unpaid parental leave will be made more flexible and will strengthen protection for workers against discrimination and harassment.
The Fair Work Commission will also be given the capacity to proactively help workers and
businesses reach agreements that benefit them, particularly new entrants, and small
and medium businesses.
Women in the workforce
Businesses with 100 employees or more will be required to publicly report their gender pay gap to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
Existing reporting standards will be strengthened, to require employers with 500 or more
employees to commit to measurable targets to improve gender equality in their
Pensioner working hours
As shared by the ABC, pensioners will be able to earn an additional $4,000 during the 2022/2023 financial year without losing any of their pension. This is on top of the $480 fortnightly earning limit that currently applies.
As a small business owner, these changes will hopefully give you a deeper talent pool to draw from. In the meantime, the challenge is to hold onto the people you have and make your business a place people want to come to each day. Need help with freight so your staff can focus on other tasks? Talk to EFS about freight and logistics services today.