In our industry we meet all types and for the most part we are fortunate that we deal with hard working Australians who want and need a job however this is not the case with all.
I was recently asked to record a segment for Today tonight where they wanted me to interview a lady who had apparently applied for 1,000 jobs and was unable to secure any of them. The segment never made it to air because as soon as I started interviewing her, it became apparent that she had not in fact applied for a single job that she had the relevant skills or qualifications to justify consideration.
This is the problem with our growing unemployment rate; It’s not a lack of jobs, it’s a lack of relevance!
Australia’s unemployment rate is currently sitting at 5.3% whilst this is still well below the OECD average rate of 8.5% it is once again on the rise. With nearly 353,000 active roles advertised across the country, it is a hard argument to make that there are no jobs available if in fact you really want one. I’m not saying people aren’t applying for roles, but it is becoming more and more common that people are looking for work that is either a pay grade above them or that requires a skill set that they have not yet gained.
We are of course taught that we must finish school and then go to university; however are these individuals properly evaluating their options and considering the long term implications of their decisions or merely following the path set for them by their parents or the pressures of society. In 2009, 38% of 15-64 year olds were enrolled in a university course compared with just 16.2% in 1999. Children are being encouraged to remain in school and complete their senior years, sure vocational learning has improved and the government can feel good about student retention rates but is it really addressing the issues? It’s certainly affecting our nation’s work ethic and desire to work in less glamorous roles, ever tried to get a tradesman or have them turn up when they say they will? Back in the eighties and nineties Kids left school and went into a trade; they worked hard, got paid little but learnt the value of a hard days work and developed a strong work ethic.
With an average ofaround 160,000 graduating Australian universities each year we are faced with another problem in that people are not giving due considerations to what courses they are taking. In areas where there is low demand surely the government should have an obligation to limit places in these courses knowing full well that only a select few will actually have placements waiting for them upon graduation.
Over the December period retailers such as Kmart looked to employ hundreds of additional staff to meet the demands of their customers throughout the peak trading time. Large retailers like this find it very hard to fill the number of vacancies mainly because people think the work is beneath them. What happened to the day when people got in at the bottom and worked their way to the top?
Catriona Noble, CEO of McDonald’s Australia, a $3.5 billion dollar a year company, started out as a teenager making fries. The head of American chain Best Buy, Brian Dunn started his career in 1985 as a sales associate. Grant O’Brien, the recently appointed CEO of Woolworths in Australia, has been with the company since 1987.
I know we can’t live in the past and we have to evolve, but have we really evolved? What are we doing to get people back into the mindset where hard work and persistence pays off? If we don’t have people prepared to start at the bottom who will serve our customers at the coal face and more importantly where will the skills be gained to truly know how to run the business once they get the top job?
So I ask you, not enough jobs or Misinformed and Misdirected Aussies ?
- John Caldwell, Retailworld Resourcing CEO