Redundancy and job insecurity are growing and it’s a problem for the economy at large

This article is written by David Taylor and is originally published by ABC News.

When Debra Kightley lost a well-paid role in human resources in 2015, she lost more than just a job.

“Just losing, I think, that sense of being who you are,” the 52-year-old said.

She’s been picking up temporary work ever since.

“You become a bit anonymous out there — a faceless person in the crowd, and you have to deal with that.”

It’s hit her confidence hard, not just personally and professionally, but also economically.

“I’m far off retiring, and just to have some security there, and maybe pump up my super where I’ve lost that opportunity — yeah I might save a little bit of that and spend it on something,” she says.

Ms Kightley says that landing a secure, on-going role would give her confidence to spend more money.

But in the meantime, as job insecurity remains widespread, there’s the risk that shoppers like Ms Kightley will spend even less as the cost of living rises.

And that’s bad news for the Australian economy.

‘Their job doesn’t exist anymore’

Many Australians have been painfully aware for some time now that the idea of a “job for life”, and the security that comes with that, has long gone.

Many Australians have been painfully aware for some time now that the idea of a “job for life”, and the security that comes with that, has long gone.

But now career counsellors are warning that anxiety resulting from widespread job insecurity is reaching alarming levels and it has the potential to further harm the economy.

Linda Jeffrey is a member of the National Executive Committee for the Career Development Association of Australia or CDAA.

She says retrenchments are rising and redundancy is now “common”.

Figures from the Bureau of Statistics support that claim.

The data, published in 2017, for example, show 187,000 Australian positions were made redundant. Fast forward to this year, and the number jumps to 272,500.

That’s a 45 per cent increase.

The government points to its record on job creation, and by any measure, it’s impressive.

The most recent employment data from the ABS shows that employment in Australia had a net increase of 310,700 over the year to August 2019 to a record high of 12,926,000. The participation rate is also at a record high of 66.2 per cent.

However, the CDAA deals with workers everyday who need help finding a new job. Ms Jeffrey says the organisation has seen a spike in job candidates coming through its doors.

The reason for the increase in workers seeking counselling is that job seekers are confused about what to do next following a redundancy.

That, Ms Jeffrey says, is a new phenomenon.

“[Previously] they might have had to look for another job, but they didn’t have to think about changing the job they were looking for because the one they had done previously either doesn’t exist anymore, or is likely not to exist in the near future,” Ms Jeffrey says.

While the obvious course of action for many job candidates is to re-train, or pay for a course to help develop new skills, the current relatively high cost of living is making that a practical impossibility.

Consumer anxiety is on the rise

All of this goes to the heart of Australia’s current economic conundrum.

You see the economy doesn’t necessarily need more jobs, it also desperately needs existing jobs to offer more security and opportunities to progress.

There are currently hundreds of thousands of Australians who have either just been retrenched — or are actively looking for a more secure, full-time-ongoing role.

The rise of the gig economy means many workers take on small odd-jobs as they need, but many of these jobs often come with uncertain hours and conditions.

Continue reading here.

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