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6222.0 - Job Search Experience, Australia, Jul 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/01/2009   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

In July 2008, there were 422,600 unemployed people comprising 206,600 (49%) men and 216,000 (51%) women. The median duration of unemployment has continued to fall over time, from 18 weeks in July 2001 to 11 weeks in July 2008.

Almost three-quarters (70%) of unemployed people were looking for full-time work with over half (56%) of these being men. Women accounted for 69% of people looking for part-time work. Of unemployed men, 81% were looking for full-time work, while 40% of unemployed women were looking for part-time work. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of unemployed people were without a non-school qualification, while 11% reported their highest level of non-school qualification was a Bachelor Degree or above. The majority (57%) of unemployed people were aged between 15 and 34 years.

There were 1.5 million job starters (employed people who had started their current job in the previous 12 months) at July 2008 and just over half (52%) of these were men. Over two-thirds (69%) of job starters were working full-time. There were 42% of job starters without a non-school qualification, and 24% reported their highest non-school qualification was a Bachelor Degree or above.


UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE

Duration of unemployment

The majority (85%) of unemployed people had been unemployed for less than one year (i.e. short-term unemployed). The estimates of men and women who were short-term unemployed were generally evenly distributed across age groups.

Of those unemployed people with and without a non-school qualification, there were no notable differences when comparing the long-term unemployed (unemployed for one year or more) with the short-term unemployed. However, differences were more apparent when looking at the levels of non-school qualification.

Of those unemployed people with a Diploma or above, 16% had been unemployed for one year or more, compared with 21% of unemployed people with a Certificate IV or below.


Difficulties in finding work

For unemployed people, the most commonly reported main difficulty in finding work was 'own ill-health or disability' (10%) closely followed by 'lacked necessary skills or education', 'unsuitable hours' and 'insufficient work experience' (each 9%).

UNEMPLOYED PERSONS, Main difficulty in finding work - By sex
Graph: Unemployed persons, Main difficulty in finding work By sex


The difficulties in finding work for unemployed people varied with whether they were men or women, what age they were, how long they have been unemployed and what type of work they were looking for (full-time or part-time).

The most common main difficulty in finding work reported by unemployed men was 'own ill health or disability' (13% compared to 7% of unemployed women). The next most common difficulties reported by men were 'too far to travel/transport problems' (10%), 'lacked necessary skills or education' and 'no vacancies in line of work' (each 9%). In comparison, for women the most common main difficulty was 'unsuitable hours' (13% compared to around 5% of unemployed men). This was followed by 'insufficient work experience' and 'lacked necessary skills or education' (both 10%).

The most frequently reported main difficulty for people looking for full-time work was 'lacked necessary skills or education' (11%), while for people looking for part-time work it was 'unsuitable hours' (20%).

For long-term unemployed people, the main difficulty reported was 'own ill-health or disability' (32%) followed by 'too far to travel/transport problems' and 'lacked necessary skills or education' (each 13%). However, short-term unemployed people most commonly reported 'unsuitable hours' or 'insufficient work experience' (each 10%) as their main difficulty.

There were 54,000 unemployed people who reported that they had 'no difficulties at all' in finding work. Of those reporting no difficulties, 62% had been unemployed for less than four weeks.


All steps taken to find work

The most common steps taken to find work reported by unemployed people in July 2008 were 'wrote, phoned or applied in person to an employer for work' (86%) and 'looked at advertisements for jobs in a newspaper' (78%). Other steps commonly taken to find work included 'looked at advertisements on the Internet' (67%) and 'answered an advertisement for a job in a newspaper' (54%).

Larger proportions of long-term unemployed people used Centrelink or a Job Network employment agency compared to short-term unemployed people.

UNEMPLOYED PERSONS, Selected steps taken to find work (a) - By duration of current period of unemployment
Graph: Unemployed persons, Selected steps taken to find work  By duration of current period of unemployment


The largest percentage point difference in the steps taken to find work for long-term unemployed people compared to the short-term unemployed were:
  • 'Registered with Centrelink as a job seeker' (71% and 40% respectively)
  • 'Registered with a Job Network employment agency' (64% and 41% respectively)
  • 'Answered an advertisement for a job in a newspaper' (73% and 51% respectively)
  • 'Checked with a Job Network employment agency' (59% and 40% respectively)
  • 'Answered an advertisement for a job on Centrelink touchscreens (25% and 12% respectively).

The pattern of steps taken to find work also varied depending on whether job-seekers were looking for full-time or part-time work.

The largest percentage point differences between those looking for full-time work and those looking for part-time work were in the steps involving Centrelink or the Job Network employment agencies. For example:
  • 'Registered with a Job Network employment agency' (54% of those looking for full-time work and 23% of those looking for part-time work)
  • 'Registered with Centrelink as a job seeker' (53% and 25% respectively)
  • 'Checked with a Job Network employment agency' (51% and 24% respectively)
  • 'Looked at advertisements for jobs on Centrelink touchscreens' (31% and 11% respectively).

Overall, higher proportions of unemployed people who had worked before also used Centrelink and the Job Network employment agencies to find work compared to those who had not worked before. They were also more inclined to answer an advertisement for a job in a newspaper (57% compared to 43% of unemployed people who had never worked before).


Preferred number of hours

Generally, unemployed men preferred to work more hours than unemployed women. In July 2008, 71% of unemployed men reported that they preferred to work 35 hours or more, compared to 38% of unemployed women. A higher proportion of unemployed men aged 25-34 years preferred 35 hours or more of work (81%) compared to 56% of those aged 15-19 years. In contrast, 49% of unemployed women aged 25-34 years and 34% of women aged 15-19 years preferred to work 35 hours or more.

UNEMPLOYED PERSONS, Preferred number of hours - By whether had worked before
Graph: Unemployed persons, Preferred number of hours  By whether had worked before


Women who had never worked before preferred to work less than 35 hours (66% compared to 45% of men), whereas 75% of men who had worked before preferred to work 35 hours or more (compared to 40% of women who had worked previously).


Older unemployed

In July 2008, 24% (99,600) of unemployed people were aged 45 years and over. Of these, there were 51% without a non-school qualification while 25% reported that they had a Diploma or above. The most common main difficulty in finding work reported by this age group was 'considered too old by employers' (16%). There were 76,400 older unemployed people who were unemployed for less than one year. The majority (60%) preferred to work 35 hours or more a week.

The most common steps taken to find work reported by the older unemployed were 'wrote, phoned or applied in person to an employer for work' (88%) and 'looked at advertisements for a job in the newspaper' (86%).


Younger unemployed

In July 2008, 37% (158,100) of unemployed people were aged 15-24 years. Of these, there were 82% without a non-school qualification. Of those without a non-school qualification, the majority (117,800 or 91%) had been unemployed for less than one year, and of these 38,700 (33%) had been unemployed for less than four weeks.

The main difficulty in finding work reported by unemployed people aged 15-24 years was 'insufficient work experience' (14%). Overall, 14% of the young unemployed reported no difficulties at all, as did almost one third (32%) of this age group who had been unemployed for less than four weeks.

The most common steps taken to find work reported by the younger unemployed were 'wrote, phoned or applied in person to an employer for work' (87%) and 'looked at advertisements for a job in the newspaper' (71%).


ALL JOB STARTERS

Characteristics of current job

There were 1.5 million job starters (employed people who started their current job in the previous 12 months) at July 2008, and around 91% of these were employees and 9% were owner managers and contributing family workers. Almost one-third of job starters (33% or 511,600) usually worked part-time hours and 32% of these preferred to work more hours.

The composition of job starter occupations was:
  • Managers (8%)
  • Professionals (19%)
  • Technicians and trades workers (15%)
  • Community and personal service workers (11%)
  • Clerical and administrative workers (14%)
  • Sales workers (12%)
  • Machinery operators and drivers (7%)
  • Labourers (14%).

Over one-third (36%) of people who were classified as Sales workers, were aged 15-19, while a large proportion of Professionals (35%) were aged 25-34 years.

More than three-fifths of job starters were aged less than 35 years (33% were aged 15-24 years and 27% were aged 25-34 years). This partly reflects the transition of younger people from education into work and may also reflect the greater job mobility of younger people. In contrast, 19% were aged 45 years or older (13% were aged 45-54 years and 6% were aged 55 years and over).


Duration of looking for work

Most new job starters had either not been looking for work at all prior to commencing their new job (40%) or had been looking for less than 8 weeks (38%). Nearly one-fifth (19%) had been looking for work for greater than 8 weeks but less than one year before commencing their current job. However, 3% of all job starters had been looking for work for one year and over, of whom those aged 35-44 years made up the largest proportion (22%).


EMPLOYEE (EXCLUDING OMIES) JOB STARTERS

In July 2008 there were an estimated 1.4 million job starters who were employees (excluding OMIEs). For 10% of these, it was the first job they ever had. Close to two-thirds of first job holders (62%) were aged 15-19 years.

Of the 1.3 million employee (excluding OMIEs) job starters who had worked before, 65% had changed employer to start their current job. The remaining 35% (440,100) were out of work prior to starting their current job and these were largely younger people, with 31% aged 15-24 years and 27% aged 25-34 years.

Just over two-fifths (41%) of employee (excluding OMIEs) job starters did not have paid leave entitlements (a proxy for casual 'employment') in their current job. Almost half (46%) of these were aged 15-24 years. Over two-thirds (68%) of job starters aged 15-19 years did not have paid leave entitlements. In contrast the reverse was true for job starters in other age groups. For example 31% of job starters aged 25-34 years did not have paid leave entitlements.

Almost three quarters (980,700 or 70%) of employee (excluding OMIEs) job starters reported that they had prior knowledge that work was available before attaining the job. Over one-third (36%) of these were aged 15-24 years and 17% were aged 45 years and over. Overall, knowledge about the availability of work was largely sourced from friends, relatives or company contacts (45%) and advertisements on the Internet (20%).


All steps taken to attain a job

The most commonly reported step to attain a job reported by employee (excluding OMIEs) job starters was 'wrote, phoned or applied in person to an employer for work' (57%). This proportion was larger (65%) for people who were out of work prior to starting their job.

A higher proportion of first job holders reported that they 'contacted friends or relatives' (33%) compared to people who had worked before (26%). However, a higher proportion of those who had worked before reported they:
  • 'answered an advertisement for a job in the newspaper' (26% compared to 15% of first job holders)
  • 'looked at advertisements for jobs in a newspaper' (38% compared to 28%)
  • 'looked at advertisements for jobs on the Internet' (42% compared to 33%)
  • 'answered an advertisement for a job on the Internet' (31% compared to 23%).

EMPLOYEE (EXCLUDING OMIES) JOB STARTERS, Selected steps to attain a job - By whether had a non-school qualification
Graph: Employee (excluding OMIES) job starters, Selected steps to attain a job  By whether had a non-school qualification


Some 801,400 (57%) of employee (excluding OMIEs) job starters had a non-school qualification. Of the steps taken to attain a job, there were some differences between those with a non-school qualification and those without a non-school qualification. These differences include:
  • 'answered an advertisement for a job on the Internet' (69% compared to 31% without a non-school qualification)
  • 'looked at advertisements for jobs on the Internet' (67% compared to 33%)
  • 'contacted friends or relatives' (52% compared to 48%)
  • 'answered an advertisement for a job on workplace noticeboards' (42% compared to 58%)
  • 'looked at advertisements for jobs on Centrelink touchscreens' (44% compared to 56%)
  • 'answered an advertisement for a job on Centrelink touchscreens' (45% compared to 55%)
  • 'looked at advertisements for jobs on workplace noticeboards' (47% compared to 53%).


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