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Analysis and Comment (17)

Counting your blessings. A worker at a chocolate factory in Germany. Jan Woitas/EPA

German labour markets put Europe’s workforce in the firing line

Germany’s strategy for export-led growth has set the Eurozone up for a fall. Plans to introduce minimum wages in 2015 might be too little too late for European countries locked in a futile game of beggar-thy-workforce…
Nick Clegg launching a work coach scheme for young people in May. Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Winding down of youth jobs scheme cuts options for NEETs

When the Youth Contract was launched in 2012, it was described by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg as “a major moment for Britain’s unemployed young people”. With an overall budget of £1bn, the plan was…
Should universities be held responsible for training too many graduates for too few jobs in fields such as dentistry? Flickr/University of Michigan

Unis should take responsibility for graduate oversupply

One criticism of Australian universities is that they indulge in oversupplying graduates in certain fields such as dentistry and journalism. But whose responsibility is it to set enrolment targets which…
Online labour marketplaces are capitalising on increased numbers of “casualised” workers. Victor1558/Flickr

Online labour marketplaces: job insecurity gone viral?

Some of the newest enterprises online are those which link workers to anyone who wants a job done. They’re not concerned with employment or jobs but with “tasks”. These are small, one-off, discrete portions…
Hairdressing was once on the Migration Occupation in Demand List, which is again under scrutiny. Alan Porritt/AAP

Governments play flawed ‘skilled jobs’ guessing game

Governments in most countries, including Australia, often feel the need to predict which skills will be in demand and match them with increased supply largely through education planning and migration…
Are traditional trade apprenticeships on the decline? AAP Image/Julian Smith

FactCheck: are Australian apprentices ‘disappearing’?

“The previous government oversaw changes to apprenticeship policy and cuts in employer incentives that led to huge drops in the numbers of young people starting an apprenticeship.” - Australian Chamber…
Freelancer brings together employers and casual workers in what the market has determined is a billion dollar business. ojtibi/Flickr

Freelancer’s IPO: A billion reasons to care

Online labour marketplace Freelancer.com listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on Friday and saw immediate gains on its initial stock price of 50 cents to a high of A$2.60 before closing at A$1.60…
Backpackers make up a hidden stream of labour in Australia. But what makes a ‘good’ migrant for policy-makers, and why is there a distinction? Siim Teller

‘Good’ migrants and ‘bad’ migrants: the Coalition’s policy paradox

In his short period in office so far, prime minister Tony Abbott has been taken to task on two issues with important neighbours: asylum seeker boats arriving from Indonesia, and the rights of New Zealanders…
Migrants have become coal mine canaries, warning of future employment troubles. squiddles

Immigration and employment: two sides of the same coin

Labour spokesman Chris Bryant’s speech on immigration calling on companies to take on more British young people came days after news there had been a leap in zero-hour contracts, a type of contract used…
No dearth of talent here… but Australia could learn from the Olympics how to attract the best global skilled workers.

Searching for an olive branch in the global war for talent

Last year, thousands of athletes from hundreds of countries competed in the London Olympics. The International Olympic Committee had no difficulty attracting the world’s leading sporting talent because…
Three recent reports into productivity highlight differing issues but agree that targeting industrial reform is not the key to lifting outputs. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Changing work practices alone will not boost productivity

The Australian Government’s recently released white paper on Australia in the Asian Century identified productivity as one of five key areas for action, at a time when we are engaged in a major national…
An emphasis on longer working lives should be a policy aspiration, rather than an ideological straitjacket. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Active ageing is a risky labour market policy

Welcome to Shades of Grey, a series from The Conversation that examines the challenges posed by Australia’s ageing workforce. Today, Monash University’s Philip Taylor looks at the costs and benefits of…
A poor report card on Australia’s productivity carried some obvious flaws. Flickr

Gloomy productivity report hides some fatal flaws

This week’s global report ranking Australia’s productivity growth performance second-last on a list of 51 countries raised eyebrows and prompted calls for urgent action. The Australian Human Resources…

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