Frustrated job seekers cry over uncaring employment agencies

Another research participant said a prospective employer was annoyed because none of the applicants for the job vacancy had relevant experience. Others said the jobactive program was being gamed by providers.

The researchers, David O’Halloran, Louise Farnsworth and Nikos Thomacos, also found that unemployed workers wanted services that were effective and psychologically positive to help them find a job.

Sean Kenny, 29, from the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick is six months off completing a Masters degree at the University of Melbourne and has been attending the same job agency for almost three years.

“I’ve had quite a lot of jobs in that time. But the agency hasn’t helped,” he said.

“It is stressful not being able to find work and then going to an agency which is doing nothing to help you find work.

“They just want me to apply for call centre work because it is easy to get into. I’m happy to do that work for the time being but I’m not suited to that work.”

Mr Kenny said he wanted help establishing a career, “not just a job”.

“The job agency sent me a cover letter for job applications that was full of spelling and grammar mistakes.”

The Monash University study, which was funded by the Australian Workers Union, cited Department of Employment figures showing that nearly 4 million appointments with employment agencies are being missed.

It said non-attendance accounted for 93 per cent of sanctions in 2017-2018, including cancellation of social security benefits.

A spokesman for the Australian Unemployed Workers Union said the Monash University study corroborated reports it had received through its advocacy hotline.

“We receive hundreds of calls and messages each month from people who say they are getting no support from providers; instead, they’re being bullied, harassed, and getting cut off their entitlements. The fact is there aren’t nearly enough jobs available for people who need them,” the spokesman said.

Labor’s spokesman for Employment Brendan O’Connor said the latest Jobs Availability Snapshot from Anglicare revealed that for every entry level job there are five jobseekers.


“Everyone other than this government knows that the current labour market programs must work better, connecting unemployed Australians with decent, stable jobs,” he said.

Minister of Employment Michaelia Cash said the government “makes no apologies for trying to get people off welfare and into work”.

“On every metric, jobactive is delivering for jobseekers. More than a million people have found work under the program. The program continues to achieve around 1,000 job placements every day.

“However, more can always be done. That is why we announced plans to completely transform the employment services system by 2022.”

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