Casualisation of the workforce

There is no incentive for finding job seekers full-time work. In fact, incentives fall the other way. The entire employment industry is rewarded for splitting full-time positions into part-time positions.

This is how it works:

-       A full-time job becomes available

-       As an employment service provider I have a choice: offer the one job to one job seeker or split the job into two, three, four or five part-time jobs, depending on what I can get away with.

Here’s the rub …

 -       As a service provider, if I split the full-time job into anything up to five individual jobs, I am rewarded both financially and in performance ratings, because A) I am paid per job found, no matter the number of hours and B) my star ratings improve per job found, no matter how small or large the job. (This is so pervasive in the DES industry that there’s a name for it: carving.

Why this matters:

-       The job seeker misses out on a chance to change his or her life by participating in meaningful, well-paid, long-term work.

-       We know that the fewer hours a worker works, the less likely they are seen as vital in the workplace and more likely to be the first person put off when times are tough.

-       Yet vulnerable people, such as people with disability, are used to ‘taking what they can get’ even if this is not enough to live on. Fair? Of course not.

Casual job numbers are up. This is not the cause for celebration that governments would have us believe. When I ask my clients what they really want, they do not say, ‘Low paid, casual employment with few rights and no tenure’. They say, ‘As many hours and as much responsibility as they can handle to support an engaged and active life.’

The system is completely arse about! Currently, it’s designed to suit bureaucracy, not the job seekers it purports to support. The numbers may look good, because ‘more people are in work’ but dig down below these blunt results and you’ll find many people under-employed in terms of both hours and pay.

The only way to remedy this is to measure outcomes by quality, not quantity. Measuring quality looks like this:

-       Hours worked

-       Money earned

-       Tenure

-       Sense of being part of the team.

Despite government incentives to do otherwise, and still working within this system, NOVA places time, effort and money into measuring the above, because these stats are the only ones that matter.

- Martin Wren


If this gets on your goat in the same way it does mine, get in contact or buy a copy of my book The Ten Demandments. Let’s rally!