Are you in HR? Or a hiring manager? Or the boss? Do you think you know all you need to know about Australia’s job market? You might have to think again. Here’s your chance to test your knowledge (answers follow the quiz —no cheating!).
Q1. When Australians search for employment, are they more likely to look for part-time, full-time or both part-time and full-time positions?
- None of the above – Casual
Q2. Do most Australians answer job advertisements posted online, newspapers and noticeboards or do they prefer to contact potential employers directly?
- Answered an advertisement for a job on the internet, in a newspaper or on a noticeboard
- Wrote, phoned or applied in person to an employer for work
- Other. Please specify _____________.
Q3. There are approximately one million underemployed Australians currently in the workforce. What is the average amount of additional hours they wish to work each week?
- 10 – 12 hours
- 13 – 15 hours
- 15 – 17 hours
- Under 10 hours
Q4. Of the underemployed Australians, what percentage had a Bachelor’s degree or higher?
- About a fifth (20 per cent)
- About a quarter (25 per cent)
- About a third (33.3 per cent)
- About a half (50 per cent)
Q5. How many currently unemployed Australians would like to work, can start in the next four weeks but are not actively seeking employment?
- Under 100,000
- About 250,000
- About 500,000
- About 1,000,000
All the answers below come from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Participation, Job Search and Mobility Survey.
Q1. C – 58 per cent
58 per cent looked for both full-time and part-time work;
12 per cent looked for full-time work only; and
30 per cent looked for part-time work only (no data on casual work)
Q2. B – 14 per cent vs. 12 per cent
14 per cent wrote, phoned or applied in person to an employer for work; and
12 per cent answered an advertisement for a job on the internet, in a newspaper or on noticeboards.
Q3. B – 13.5 hours
Q4. C – About a third
Q5. D – 954,800
0-1 – Train Wreck. It’s time to study… hard.
2-3 – Getting There. Keep trying.
4-5 – Wow. You’re A Master!
Why Do These Insights Matter?
Knowledge is power. Taking a look at the wider job market can help you break through some of the assumptions that might be holding you back as a potential employer.
Here are a few thoughts:
1. The answer to this one surprised us a little. But here’s what’s probably happening. If you’re looking for full-time, you don’t want to miss out if there’s a part time opportunity, so you don’t rule it out. You wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity for a great role at a great company –you want to know about it. The job might be paying almost as much for four days as it would for five, and the role could grow. Women with kids will also typically look for part time first and only after that look at full time –but, again, they will likely cast a wide net.
2. This one didn’t surprise us at all. When most people see something they like, they just go for it. In some cases, though, this is a really bad idea. They might actually hurt their chances by going direct, especially without preparing. Say their language skills aren’t good or they come across as hasty –this bad first impression can rule them out permanently.
3. A massive number of people are reporting that they are underemployed. How does that affect your business? Well, you might have people just like that in your organisation. They might be restless and looking for more opportunity. Why not keep them onside and give them that opportunity internally. Instead of automatically looking outside your organisation to fill a position, consider existing staff first. They may be itching to put their hand up. That’s why intranet job boards, and other internal job advertising, can be so important. Australia Post identified the importance and value of internal hires when they announced their goal of filling up to 50% of their openings internally.
4. There’s an interesting wrinkle in this question. Could this have to do with the struggles immigrants with degrees from overseas may face? Even immigrants with advanced degrees often have to start as juniors because they don’t have the right kind of certifications. Also, a lot of people get disillusioned by their degree. They haven’t found their “north star” yet, their passion, and remain underemployed while they search.
5. Let’s be honest. Just because there is a segment of the population who say they are ready-to-go employees, I’d keep the people contemplated by this question at the bottom of my list for hiring. After all, why aren’t they looking for work, if they really want to work? Do you really have time to be a motivational psychologist or a life coach?