According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) an extra 138,000 jobs were lost during the month of September 2021. This means that Australia’s unemployment rate increased up to 4.6 percent, from 4.5 percent, with another dramatic deterioration in the participation rate the main reason why the unemployment rate did not jump further.
Australia’s participation rate hit a 15-month low, with just 64.5 percent of people aged 15 and over currently working or currently looking for work.
This means that more people fell out of the labour force, due to the rise of Australia’s unemployment rate
The underutilisation rate, which combines the unemployed with the underemployed, increased up to 13.9 percent from 13.8 percent.
However, it is important to be mindful that the labour markets of New South Wales and Victoria have a combined share of close to 60 percent of Australia’s employed population had a major influence on the national figures.
During the month of September 2021 there were massive falls in employment in Victoria (with a drop of 23,000 people and a decline of 25,000 people in NSW. This proceeds a significant decline of 173,000 in August 2021.
These figures were partly offset by a 31,000 increase in Queensland, where conditions recovered from the short lockdown in early August.
However, the extent of the economic damage from NSW failing to contain its Covid-19 outbreak in June has become even clearer.
Over the past three months, participation in the labour force has fallen by 333,000 people, with employment dropping by 281,000 people.
This means that at the present time there are 111,000 less people employed than before the first Covid-19 lockdowns in March 2020.
Australia’s Unemployment Rate
It is likely that Australia’s labour market won’t recover from recent lockdowns until sometime next year and this has cause the rise of Australia’s unemployment rate.
However, if Australia’s vaccination rates continue apace and reopening schedules do not cause a damaging spike in cases of covid-19, more workers will start returning to the labour force in coming months at a much quicker rate.
If the economy recovers much quicker than expected Australia might even end up finding itself in a situation where the countries labour market shortages become a bigger problem than job losses.
Over the past few months female employees in Australia have counted for a large percentage of recent job losses.
Between June and September, the period covering the recent lockdowns close to 281,200 jobs disappeared, and 60 percent belonged to women.
The reason for a large percentage of women losing jobs is due to the fact that a large percentage of recent jobs were part-time jobs which overall are held mostly by women.
Full-time jobs dropped by 46,400, but part-time jobs plummeted by 234,800 with 168,800 of those jobs held by women.
Over the past few months schools have closed, childcare centres and hairdressing salons have closed during recent lockdowns. Many of the people employed in these jobs are women. If the Australian economy won’t recover as it should, the Australia’s unemployment rate will continue to rise.
20 Percent of Australians Report Experiencing Age Related Discrimination
According to the Australian Seniors Series: Ageing in the Workforce 2021 report, one in five workers which makes up 20.7 percent aged over 50 report to have encountered age discrimination in the workplace. These figures are twice as many compared to 2016 which was reported at 9.6 percent. Just over 40 percent surveyed admit to feeling patronised in the workplace because of their age.
Regardless of the prevalence of ageism, over three quarters of Australians aged over 50 want to continue working indefinitely and almost 90 percent of retirees plan to re-enter the workforce in the future. When surveyed respondents said that Finance was the number one reason for wanting to re-enter the workforce. This was followed by missing their job, boredom and a lack of social connection.
“Over one in two seniors feel that Covid has made it harder to get work, and close to one in five feel that recent events have impacted their retirement plans, so it’s bringing a lot of uncertainty into their working life. In response to this, we actually see that one in four seniors admit to trying to make themselves look younger in the workplace or when they’re applying for jobs. That includes things from dying their hair, wearing the latest fashion, getting the latest haircut and makeup styles,” said Tai Mavins, social research expert who spoke at a recent virtual roundtable event which discussed ways to address ageism in the workplace.
Older workers are also becoming increasingly proactive at upskilling to keep up with advancing industry trends, with many branching out into new career paths.
The findings from the research illustrates that the desire to work and to continue learning is there. Similar to many other countries across the world, Australia has an ageing population, and the rising cost of living means people are working till later in life. It is therefore clear that HR leaders must do more to address the causes of age discrimination and generate a truly inclusive workplace.
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