Unemployment is high across all age groups – not just the under-the-35s who stand to benefit from the Federal Government’s new JobMaker hiring credit, the latest figures from Roy Morgan showed.
More than 1.8 million Australians, or 12.9% of the labour force, are still out of work, according to the firm’s estimates for September, which measure real unemployment across the country.
Of this number, nearly 900,000 are aged 18 to 34, the segment of the working population covered by the new incentive. The hiring programme gives businesses a weekly wage subsidy of $200 for workers aged 16 to 29 and $100 for those aged 30 to 35.
In contrast, however, 665,000 of the jobless come from the 35+ demographic. This includes 185,000 in Victoria; 170,000 in Queensland; and 150,000 in New South Wales, the findings revealed.
“This large cohort of unemployed Australians risks being ‘frozen out’ of employment opportunities as businesses opt to employ younger, cheaper and less experienced workers at their expense – and collect significant wage subsidies to do so,” said Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine.
The Federal Government must be careful “not to disadvantage large numbers of workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” he said of government plans to restart the economy.
Combining Australia’s unemployed and under-employed (part-time workers and freelancers who are looking for additional work), there are about 1.3 million workers aged 35+ who are struggling to find stable employment in this economy.
The government’s pandemic relief package has “successfully cushioned most people from the immediate economic effect of COVID-19 and the associated lockdown measures,” Levine said.
However, both JobKeeper and JobSeeker have recently been reduced.
“The JobKeeper wage subsidy for full-time workers has been lowered by $300 to $1,200 per fortnight and cut in half to $750 per fortnight for part-time workers. The JobSeeker payment for the unemployed has also been cut by $300 per fortnight,” Levine said.
“The reduction in government support will force businesses to assess how many of their employees are vital to the business going forward and will at the same time force workers who have been relying on these payments to consider whether they may need to look for better employment opportunities.”