At Prospert, we are very fortunate to work with Disability Employment service providers on both sides of the Tasman. During winter, Prospert trained a large number of Australian and New Zealand disability employment consultants. We now have a good handle on what is working when it comes to finding sustainable employment for jobseekers with a disability, illness or health condition. This perspective provides insights into how the disability employment services sector is performing during the COVID-19 economic challenge.
It is fair to say the ANZAC Spirit is alive and well. Let’s explore these insights further.
Disability employment has common challenges
In Australia, there are 280,000 people looking for work using Disability Employment Services. In New Zealand, there are 160,000 people with disability, injury or health conduction who want to work. Less than a third find paid employment in both markets each year.
Faced with rising unemployment and the imminent withdrawal of COVID-related Government wage subsidies, nervousness amongst providers is increasing. Chief amongst their concerns are finding enough jobs in a more competitive labour market.
Border closures have led to a recession in key industry sectors such as hospitality and tourism. However, sectors such as agriculture, individual care, and commercial cleaning have a high labour demand. Typically, these industries employed overseas backpackers and newly arrived migrants who are now in very short supply. See our earlier blog: https://prospert.com.au/strategy/who-will-replace-migrant-workers/.
A common theme is the Government’s desire to achieve more sustainable employment outcomes for jobseekers on benefits.
Observations made during training
We found successful consultants are:
- Deepening their understanding of the labour market: COVID-19 has changed the employment landscape, and proactive consultants have tapped into new opportunities that did not previously exist;
- Realising that recently unemployed are relatively job-ready: A new mix of jobseekers, many with transferable skills, have come “on stream” and proactive consultants are identifying these early and triaging their approach to promote their skills and experience to employers;
- Applying focus and discipline: Consultants are enthusiastically and energetically embracing the COVID-19 challenge. New tools, techniques, and templates are helping them balance their time between jobseekers and employers. Vacancies are out there. Nudging jobseekers to take advantage of them is easier when they too are involved in targeting employers.
- Leveraging work trials, work experience, and wage subsidies carefully: Proactive consultants are using opportunities to meet employers to understand them better. In this way, they are more selective in the use of work trials or experience programs. Also, offering wage subsidies and other financial inducements is now less frequent. The result: more committed employers and sustainable employment.
- Managing objections: Both markets experience the same issues in “doing the deal” with employers. Typically, objections relate to: a jobseeker’s disability, illness or health condition; previous criminal history; lack of experience or skills; inability to work required hours; and a need to apply online first.
Keeping the ANZAC Spirit Alive
Today is the ideal time to highlight the ongoing relevance of our long term ANZAC relationship. Consider it an opportunity to learn from each other. This very important sector for both trans Tasman communities is dealing with identical situations in many respects. Gaining relevant employment for job seekers achieves a direct contribution to overall health, general wellbeing, and vigour of residents in both societies. It is so heartening to consider the possibility that jointly sharing problems, is a problem solved. A concrete example of keeping ANZAC spirit alive.
Prospert is continuing to invest in sharing best practice across both sides of the Tasman. For example, we recently ran an “objection clinic” with a cross-industry mix of consultants and quickly ran out of time to satisfy demand!
If you would like to express interest in becoming part of a cross Tasman disability employment community, drop us a line at https://prospert.com.au/contact-us/.