Monday, July 21, 2008

Australia - No Fair Go!

When trying to look for work as a student, I hit many blocks. It wasn't the number of opportunities available, Australia has been having a very good run of low unemployment rates with a large number of jobs still being advertised. Currently, this report shows that there is a very low unemployment rate in Australia (around 5%), and at the time of this writing, jobs website is advising 212,700 jobs online.

I cannot count the number of applications I made for specific and relevant jobs, but never even got a call back. The same jobs were being advertised time and again, but no go for my application. When I did get one lowly call center job, I met with so many over-qualified professionals working with me, I knew I wasn't alone. That was five years ago.

Now my wife faces the same issues. This is not a rant about not getting a job, but more of a pattern that I see emerging as even my wife's colleagues are still overqualified professionals getting by with a job which will pay the bills, barely. No amount of overseas experience or qualifications matter as she and her colleagues keep applying for different jobs.

Then I read this opinion article in The Age, the author Helen Szoke talks about the something similar:

At a time when we are hearing so much about labour market shortages and skill shortages, Harnessing Diversity reveals stories of people who have lived in Victoria for some time, can't get their overseas work experience recognised and can't get a job. How can this be so, when we know that some sectors of the job market are running at 20% vacancy rates, when employers are using all sorts of strategies to retain workers because of labour market shortages?
This part of the article is certainly very demeaning:
Take, for example, the research on people with Arabic-sounding names who failed to win an interview until they changed their names on their applications to ones that sounded Anglo-Saxon.
If someone looked at this in a different light, they probably would call it racism as this is systematically avoiding outsiders. May be not racism, but some kind of bias towards people only with Australian experience, but you probably see my point. The people who are struggling probably won't be able to speak up as they are too busy worrying about their career.

Helen also says, "The land of the fair go is an illusion for many migrants.", lets hope people in charge of hiring actually do something about this.

Picture courtesy: Auckland Art Gallery


  1. Anonymous said...

    "Helen also says, "The land of the fair go is an illusion for many migrants.", lets hope people in charge of hiring actually do something about this."

    Contrary to Helen Szoke's belief, Australia does not exist to serve immigrants and is not obliged to give the rest of the world a 'fair go'.

    As for the accusations of hidden 'racism', the fact that many immigrants are unemployable is not evidence of discrimination; it is evidence that Australia's immigration policies are failing.

    Rather than setting arbitary quotas every year, the Immigration Department should be allowing businesses to recruit the people they actually need, provided they pass certain labour market tests aimed at ensuring that no Australian can be found to fill that particular position.

    Simply importing a whole bunch of people every year, irrespective of labour market conditions, is a stupid policy. Hence the reason why most industrialised countries have tight restrictions on immigration and try to keep the number of immigrants to an absolute minimum. Sadly, Australia is governed by slow learners, hence the reason why Australia remains one of the few countries in the world that still runs a large-scale permanent immigration programme.

  2. Aravind said...

    After posting the same post in a forum site I am a member of, I since have learned that it is not just non-white people having trouble getting a job (and that is the only thing I am talking about). But yes I think you can agree that a non-white person will probably have more trouble finding a job.

    How about the bias towards people with non-AngloSaxon names?