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In South Australia, nine entry-level job seekers are competing for each suitable job – almost double the national figure.

Anglicare’s 2019 Jobs Availability Snapshot also found that entry-level jobs made up just 10 per cent of all vacancies across Australia, down from 14 per cent last year. When records began back in 2006, entry level jobs were 22 per cent of all vacancies.

AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman said that unemployment and underemployment levels are dire in SA, where the job market is failing those who need the most help to find work.

“With the ongoing decline in low-skill, entry-level jobs down to just one in 10 of those advertised, there’s little doubt the job market is failing those with the most significant barriers to employment,” he said.

“We’re talking about people who didn’t finish year 12, people living with disability or mental illness, or those who have lost their jobs later in life. On average it takes these people five years to find work, and as the snapshot shows, the situation in SA is particularly tough.”

Entry-level, low-skilled job seekers in Tasmania and South Australia are doing it especially tough | Source: Jobs Availability Snapshot 2019, Anglicare Australia

For more than a decade, Tim Turner has volunteered in various roles including at charitable organisations as a retail assistant, receptionist and helping others with food and housing.

The 24-year-old said that despite recently completing a Certificate 3 in Retail and applying for up to 20 jobs a fortnight, he has never in his life had paid work.

“It’s ridiculously tough out there for some young people, especially when you have no qualifications or previous paid experience,” he said.

“I’m trying to stay optimistic – and hopefully having a Cert 3 will better my chances.

“My partner and I are about to have our first child so I guess I’m lucky we have a home. But we barely have anything after covering the rent and other basic supplies we need.”

24-year-old Tim applies for around 20 jobs a fortnight, so far without any luck.

Evidence from the Anglicare Jobs Availability Snapshot shows a staggering almost 1.9 million people like Tim across Australia are either unemployed or underemployed – with underemployment up four per cent compared to 2018.

To make matters worse, people with higher qualifications are working in lower skilled jobs, putting more pressure on entry-level job seekers’ ability to compete.

“While we’re currently enjoying exciting times for highly profitable industries in SA, particularly in defence, space and the arts, we need to make sure our state progresses without leaving the most vulnerable behind,” Mr Sandeman said.

“We must do more than just sit and wait for jobs – often ones which require specific skill sets, qualifications and experience – to be generated by international business investment.

“Particularly in Adelaide’s north and other areas where we provide support services, unemployment and underemployment will continue to increase social and economic disadvantage.

“If we’re serious about supporting people and families and building strong and sustainable communities, we need to create opportunities for job seekers at all skill levels – rather than forcing competition for jobs that just aren’t there.”

People with higher qualifications are working in lower skilled jobs, putting more pressure on entry-level job seekers.

National Jobs Availability Snapshot 2019 Key Findings

The Snapshot found that across Australia:

  • More than 704,700 people are unemployed
  • More than 1.16 million people are underemployed (4% increase compared to 2018)
  • Almost 100,000 job seekers are only qualified for entry-level jobs
  • Of the 174,000 job vacancies advertised, only 18,200 (10%) were entry-level jobs (4% reduction compared to 2018)
  • Nationally, there are just over 5 job seekers competing for every entry-level job
  • In SA, there are 9.1 job seekers competing for every entry-level job

The Job Availability Snapshot, released today during Anti-Poverty Week, highlights the real and present effects of disadvantage, vulnerability and joblessness across SA.

“We must support, empower and uplift those who need it most – and by doing so, we can profoundly impact all South Australians.

“The need for change is urgent. If we don’t fix this broken system, we could witness the human tragedy of lifelong poverty in our country, which is supposedly economically wealthy.”

Read the full Anglicare Australia 2019 Jobs Availability Snapshot here.