Budget’s Support for “Discrete” Employment Initiatives Backed by Esher House’s Behavioural Science

Last night’s Federal Budget had several implications for employment initiatives in Australia.

The success of Transition to Work for young people has justified a lifting of the cap on funding to facilitate a demand-driven model. Further, a real focus on mature age support has come into effect. From a purely economic and biological perspective, Australians are living longer and will want to live productive lives for longer. Work is undoubtedly evidenced to improve mental and physical wellbeing too, so the Department of Health will be an indirect benefactor of people working for longer. There is now an irrefutable “return on investment” from supporting work transitions for citizens in their fifties and sixties.

Esher House’s Assessment of Work Readiness (AWR) prescriptive analytic evidences very different attitudes to employment between different “segments” of jobseekers. Parents, citizens with a disability, mature age, Indigenous and remote Australians and young people all have very different cognitive attitudes, drivers and inhibitors to employment. Knowing someone’s genuine commitment to employment informs very different interventions to best engage and support a jobseeker to progress into sustained employment.

For example, single parents are the most likely segment of Australian jobseeker to be in the “Preparation” stage: they truly want to get back to work, but they feel they’re lacking in confidence and the required skills. Young people are, perhaps debunking some conventional wisdom, the least likely cohort to be in “Precontemplation”: belligerently not wanting to work. Next week’s blog will go into further detail on this.

Mature age jobseekers’ genuine commitment to employment? Well, they’re polarised. More likely than an average jobactive participant to be in the “Action” stage – gung-ho committed to returning to work…but also more likely to be in “Precontemplation”.

Human behaviours and motivators are complex – but they’re possible to unravel and harness to help improve the lives of each citizen. That’s why Esher House greatly welcomes and applauds the Department of Jobs and Small Business’ discrete initiatives, including focusing upon support for mature age Australians: the rollout of the Career Transition Service, the Skills and Training Incentive, Entrepreneur Facilitators and the Job Change programmes.