Conference PaperPDF Available

Is Job Services Australia made to measure for disadvantaged jobseekers?

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Unlike other OECD countries that have experienced large increases in unemployment, the main challenge for employment services in Australia is to assist a cohort of relatively disadvantaged jobseekers into jobs in conditions of low unemployment. When the Job Services Australia (JSA) system replaced the Job Network in 2009, the Government set three goals: to target the most disadvantaged jobseekers, to give providers more flexibility to individualise assistance, and to encourage investment in training and other programs to upgrade the skills of unemployed people. This paper makes a preliminary assessment of JSA against these three objectives. Given the limited evaluation evidence so far available, the approach taken is to compare relevant design features of the Job Network and JSA, use the findings of relevant evaluations of employment programs in Australia and elsewhere to hypothesise the likely impacts of key changes, and to compare the available data on JSA clients, the services they receive and their employment outcomes with the hypothesised impacts. The paper concludes that JSA shifted resources from those already in long term unemployment to those most at risk of it and this is reflected in the employment outcomes achieved by these two groups. The sequence of activation of jobseekers in JSA is more flexible than the Job Network, however (with the exception of Stream 3 and 4 jobseekers in their first year of unemployment) providers lack the resources and incentives to take full advantage of this greater flexibility and the payment system remains administratively ‘heavy’. There has been a marked shift in labour market assistance towards vocational training, funded mainly from mainstream training budgets. While use of Work for the Dole as an activation tool has diminished, there has been a modest increase in subsidised employment in mainstream jobs for long term unemployed people, a relatively effective program. The effect of these shifts in program investment on employment outcomes depends to a large extent on the quality and relevance of training, which depends in turn on whether providers are tailoring training to jobseeker and labour market needs or offering activation at the lowest available cost.
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
This article presents a meta-analysis of recent microeconometric evaluations of active labour market policies. We categorise 199 programme impacts from 97 studies conducted between 1995 and 2007. Job search assistance programmes yield relatively favourable programme impacts, whereas public sector employment programmes are less effective. Training programmes are associated with positive medium-term impacts, although in the short term they often appear ineffective. We also find that the outcome variable used to measure programme impact matters, but neither the publication status of a study nor the use of a randomised design is related to the sign or significance of the programme estimate.
Article
There is persistent evidence over several decades that the UK lags behind its international competitors in terms of the skills and qualifications of its workforce, with a detrimental impact on overall economic performance. The most recent attempt by the UK government to address this includes a new strategy aimed at increasing the degree of integration between skills policy and employment policy in the UK. In light of this development, this review paper considers the extensive international evidence on the role and effectiveness of training and skills interventions, as part of a broader portfolio of active labour market policies. The review concludes that while large-scale, ‘broad brush’ schemes have little impact as part of such a portfolio, more targeted programmes addressing specific skill needs may have some impact on employment chances of workless groups.
Lock in effects' refer to reduced job search intensity while an individual participates in a program
  • D Card
  • J Kluve
  • A Weber
Lock in effects' refer to reduced job search intensity while an individual participates in a program. Card D, Kluve J & Weber A (2009), op cit; Martin J & Grubb D (2000), 'op cit.
Evidence on the working and effectiveness of active labour market programs
  • R Johri
Johri R et al (2004), 'Evidence on the working and effectiveness of active labour market programs', New Zealand Department of Labour, Wellington; OECD 2005, op cit.
Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn. 59 'Lock in effects' refer to reduced job search intensity while an individual participates in a program
  • B Graversen
  • P Jensen
Graversen B & Jensen P (2006), 'A reappraisal of the virtues of private sector employment programmes', IZA Discussion Papers No. 2230, July 2006, Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn. 59 'Lock in effects' refer to reduced job search intensity while an individual participates in a program. Card D, Kluve J & Weber A (2009), op cit;
The long term gains from GAIN
  • V Hotz
Hotz V et al (2004), 'The long term gains from GAIN', NBER Working Papers No 807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge MA;
Complex not simple, the vocational education and training pathway from welfare to work
  • K Barnett
  • J Spoehr
Barnett, K & Spoehr J (2008), 'Complex not simple, the vocational education and training pathway from welfare to work', National Centre for Vocational Education Research, Adelaide