Victoria Takes the Brunt of Job Cuts in Australia

‘Premier Ted Baillieu said Victoria was experiencing a shift from full-time to part-time employment, but expressed concern that much of it might be reflecting under-employment rather than deliberate choices by workers.

Economists warned that there was worse to come, and in a wide range of industries, as the high dollar sends jobs overseas and diminished spending growth contracts jobs at home.

”We expect that over the next few months NSW and Victoria will bear the brunt of the employment correction under way in retail, manufacturing, construction, business services and finance,” said Westpac chief economist Bill Evans. ”As such, we see the labour market weakening further in these states.”’

Resilience and curiosity

I had a chat to Soumitri on Friday about my project. He helped me distill the essence of my topic area. It’s not really unemployment, it’s not really job cuts, it’s not really saving on your electricity bill. It’s about being resilient to change. Being adaptable in an evolving workforce and lifestyle.

According to this article, “Each Gen Y will have 5 careers and 20 different employers across their working lifetimes.” Gone is the idea that you will spend your life working your way up from the photocopy room to the board room. Younger workers, and increasingly older ones, are demanding more from their workplaces, mostly in the form of development opportunities. Employees expect their employers to help them to grow and learn. In return are very loyal and dedicated, for the four or so years that they work there.

I also read an article the Age’s Sunday Life magazine this morning called “A curious life,” about why parents should keep their children inquisitive. It explained that if you encourage a curiosity to find out more, children’s brains consider it a challenge and release a hit of dopamine when they’ve found the solution. They literally become addicted to learning.

If we could wire adults so that they are eternally curious, they would see change as a challenge, not a hindrance, and job hunting might even be fun, rewarding and addictive. I like the idea of someone loving job hunting so much that it disrupts their work life! Now that would be a poetic and humorous project.

The decline of industrial districts

Many plants in the heavy industry sectors are located outside Melbourne in rural Victorian towns, or ‘industrial districts‘. The employees live and work in the town, and the local community is built on the steady pay checks from Ford or Energy Brix. Many are even ‘company towns‘ meaning they are owned by the plant owner.

Governments and Unions focus on keeping the companies alive with subsidies and the like. These are very short term solutions that ignore the looming reality of our energy usage. As we are all well aware, fossil fuel is a sunset industry and closures are becoming more and more common as the finite resources run out and the public desires change. So what happens if there are job cuts or the plant shuts down entirely? Can the town continue to thrive independent to the factories?

The renewable energy sector is not yet substantial enough to absorb all the disgruntled ex-employees of fossil fuel based industries, and we shouldn’t just wait around to see if this is a solution anyway. So what should we do?

2 billion jobs to disappear by 2030

On his blog, Futurist Speaker, Thomas Frey explains the theory behind his estimate of 2 billion jobs vanishing in under 20 years with new technologies in energy, transport and education.

The good news is that while we’re losing bus-drivers, rail workers, professors and fishermen, we are gaining jobs in course design, 3D print design, robot design and traffic designers. Win.

Frey will be speaking at the 2012 Creative Innovation convention if you would like to fork out more than $1000 for a ticket.

Looking at unemployment

I have been getting up to speed with the topic of unemployment in Australia. An overview of the unemployment rate over the last decade:

  • Lots of news stories of job cuts- Toyota, Ford, Rio Tinto, QLD Government
  • And job cut speculation- Fairfax, NAB, Tafe, Macquarie
  • Experts believe unemployment will rise to a max of 6% by the end of the year (ABC News excerpt)
  • Unemployment in June has come down from 6.3% in 2002, to 5.1% in 2012, fluctuating between 6.1% and 4.2% in the years between (ABS Statistics).
  • Job gains in service related areas and mining.
  • Job losses in retail and manufacturing.

An overview of the services provided to the unemployed by the government:

  • There are many services to help you get employed, not many on how to deal with unemployment, or how to be less reliant on your employment. E.g. Youth Allowance, NewStartLocal Connections to Work,
  • There is a focus on youth and the long term unemployed, not so much on the recently unemployed.
  • Many services are finance based with occasional skills training (writing a resume etc.), not focused on lifestyle or upskilling.

Other food for thought:

People groups in ‘barriers to increased labour force participation’

Main reasons for available people not looking for more work

Main difficulties in finding more work