Australia's manufacturing sector has been experiencing an important and welcome rebound during the last two years. The turnaround has been documented and analysed in previous Centre for Future Work research (including studies published in 2017 and 2018 as part of the National Manufacturing Summit, co-sponsored by the Centre).
Ironically, the manufacturing recovery could be short-circuited by looming shortages of appropriately skilled workers. This seems unbelievable -- given so much downsizing in manufacturing employment that occurred between 2001 and 2015. But a combination of structural change within the sector, the ageing of the current workforce, and the failure of Australia's vocational education system (crippled by a bizarre experiment in publicly-subsidized private delivery) means that recovering manufacturers may be unable to find the skilled workers they need.
A recent feature article in Australian Welding magazine highlighted the Centre for Future Work's research into the problems of the current VET system, the implications for manufacturing, and 12 key reforms urgently needed to repair the situation.Read more
Workforce (a labour relations bulletin published by Thomson-Reuters) recently surveyed major IR figures in Australia on what they saw as the big issues in 2018, and what they expect as the major talking points for 2019. Jim Stanford, economist and Centre for Future Work director, was one of those surveyed, and here are his remarks. You may also view the interview in pdf format here.Read more
A special 6-part series of short articles from WA Transport Magazine:
Researchers have identified the transportation industry as one of the sectors likely to be most affected by the coming implementation of new technologies: such as self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence, and automated logistics systems. How will transportation workers fare as these technologies are rolled out, and what measures can be taken - by employers, governments, unions, educational institutions, and other stakeholders - to ease the transitions?Read more
Public concern continues to grow regarding the erosion of traditional jobs, and the rise of more insecure, precarious positions -- including part-time, term-limited, labour hire, and independent contractor positions. The Centre for Future Work continues to research this phenomenon, and the policy measures which would help to improve standards in non-standard jobs, and encourage employers to create more secure positions. Recent media coverage has featured our research on these issues:Read more
Last weekend's edition of The Saturday Paper featured an in-depth analysis by journalist Mike Seccombe, dissecting the Coalition government's attempts to scapegoat welfare programs for Australia's labour market and fiscal problems. The article included several statistics from the Centre for Future Work, as well as from our colleague Richard Denniss (Chief Economist at the Australia Institute). With decent paid work increasingly hard to find, it's no wonder the government targets income-support payments for working-age Australians: there are both political reasons (shifting blame) and a perverse economic logic (reinforcing the compulsion on desperate workers to accept any job, no matter how insecure or badly-paid) behind the government's strategy. Here is a link to the full article.
In today's chronically depressed labour market, workers will go to unprecedented lengths to find and keep a job -- even agreeing to work for free! ABC's RN program Future Tense recently explored the rising prevalence of unpaid work in Australia's economy, including staying at work after hours, taking your work home with you (such as e-mails that never stop), and unpaid internships.
The program features an interview with Centre Economist and Director Jim Stanford on the economic causes, and consequences, of unpaid work. Access the interview here (click "Download Audio" to hear the show). ABC Online also published a news story based on the program, available here.
You know that the tides of public opinion are starting to turn, when even the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Mr. Rod Sims, will come out in public and criticize the usual claims that privatization is good for efficiency and national well-being.
Our Director Jim Stanford recently spoke with Unions NSW about this surprising development, and the general flaws in the argument for privatization. Here is the video!
Regardless of who wins the Federal election, the major issue facing Australians is the future of work.
There are startling and credible predictions that more than five million Australian jobs will simply disappear in the next 15 years, as a result of technology. That's 40% of the jobs that exist in Australia today.
The Centre for Future Work spoke to Four Corners about insecure work and what's coming down the pipeline for workers.
A new report from the Australia Institute shows that on a range of measures, the performance under the current government has been worse than that under Gillard, write Greg Jericho.