Insecure Workers Have Been the ‘Shock Troops’ of the COVID-19 Pandemic: New Report

New research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work confirms that workers in casual and insecure jobs have borne the lion’s share of job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic – both the first lockdowns in 2020, and the more recent Delta-wave of closures. Key Findings: Since May, workers in casual and part-time jobs have

September 2021

July 2021

When the Show Cannot Go On: Rebooting Australia’s Arts & Entertainment Sector After COVID-19

New research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, written by Senior Economist Alison Pennington and Monash University’s Ben Eltham, reveals the ongoing, devastating impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s arts and entertainment sector and provides a series of recommendations to government that would reboot the creative sector following the crisis. Key Findings: The arts

May 2021

Australia’s Electricity Infrastructure Undermined by $1 Billion Per Year Under Investment

The resilience of Australia’s electricity infrastructure is being undermined by a chronic pattern of underinvestment in maintenance and upkeep, the result of rent-seeking by private electricity producers and a deeply flawed regulatory system. That is the conclusion of a detailed review of empirical and qualitative data on the transmission and distribution system contained in a

March 2021

February 2021

Business Council of Australia Research Confirms Centre for Future Work Research

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) has today released a report which confirms trends described in earlier research by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work. However, the BCA’s expressed concern for ‘the future of bargaining’ contradicts its support for the Government’s omnibus bill which will further undermine genuine bargaining and suppress already record-low wage

Omnibus IR Bill will Further Reduce Wage Growth

New research by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work shows the Federal Government’s omnibus industrial relations bill will lead to a significant increase in employer-designed enterprise agreements (EA) that reduce workers’ pay and conditions, rather than improve them—signaling a return to the WorkChoices pattern of EA-making and putting further downward pressure on Australia’s already

January 2021

Yes, lockdowns mean lost jobs. But data shows that not locking down causes much more economic damage

by Jim Stanford in Toronto Star

With new stay-at-home orders covering many parts of the province, Ontarians are settling in for a month (at least) of daunting isolation. Restrictions are also being tightened in other provinces to slow the spread of COVID-19, until vaccines can turn the tide of the pandemic. Despite accelerating infection and overflowing hospitals, many oppose the new restrictions on

December 2020

Pandemic Exacerbated Inequality, Insecurity in Australia’s Labour Market

A year-end review of the dramatic changes in Australia’s labour market in 2020 has confirmed that the worst economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic were felt by Australians in relatively low-paid, insecure jobs. Key Findings: Workers in casual jobs lost employment at a rate 8 times faster than those in permanent positions Part-time workers suffered

New Research Centre Established to Honour Union Leader Laurie Carmichael

A new research centre dedicated to the legacy of one of Australia’s greatest union leaders will be established in 2021 at the Australia Institute. The newly formed Carmichael Centre will be established at the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, in the name of legendary manufacturing unionist Laurie Carmichael, who passed away in 2018 at

November 2020

Australian Workplaces Unprepared for Rising Heat Stress in Light of Climate Change

Last Summer’s devastating Black Summer bushfires exposed the under-preparedness of Australian workplaces to the serious health and safety risks of heat stress for many workers across Australia. Heading in to next Summer season, new research published today by the Centre for Future Work, outlines why working in extreme heat is a growing and urgent issue

Unpaid Overtime Rife, Despite Shift to “Work from Home”

New research has revealed that almost three-quarters of Australians “working from home” are doing at least some of it in non-work-time. This has contributed to a substantial rise in the incidence of unpaid overtime this year, which now costs Australian workers almost $100 billion a year.  The Centre for Future Work’s 12th annual Go Home on

October 2020

480,000 Jobs Rely on QLD Public Service, Cuts Would Deepen the State’s Recession

With state budget deficits a potential issue in the coming Queensland election, new research from the Centre for Future Work shows that cutting public sector jobs and wages would directly undermine the delivery of essential public services at a challenging time in Queensland’s history. Moreover, misplaced fiscal austerity would also hurt the state’s economic recovery

September 2020

New Analysis: 12,000 Community Service Jobs at Risk Due to Funding Uncertainty

New economic research shows up to 12,000 community service jobs are at risk due to the Federal Government’s failure to confirm whether federal funding for community service organisations will be maintained. The new report released today by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work demonstrates the economic importance of Commonwealth pay-equity funding at a time

August 2020

Failure to Invest in New Tech Damaging Economy, Incomes & Jobs

Startling new research from the Centre for Future Work shows that Australia’s economy is now regressing in its use of new technology, with negative implications for productivity, incomes, and job quality. The report findings contrast sharply with the common concern that robots and other forms of automation will threaten future job security for Australian workers.

TAFE system supports $92.5 billion in annual economic benefits

New research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work shows the TAFE system supports $92.5 billion in annual economic benefits through the direct operation of TAFE institutes, higher incomes and productivity generated by the TAFE-credentialed workforce, and reduced social benefits costs.  The report adopts a multidimensional approach to measuring the wide economic and social

July 2020

Post-COVID Manufacturing Renewal Represents Potential $50 Billion Boost to Economy

New research from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work reveals that Australia ranks last among all OECD countries for manufacturing self-sufficiency. While this indicator confirms the dramatic decline of domestic manufacturing in recent years, it also reveals the enormous potential benefits that would be generated by rebuilding manufacturing back to a size proportional to

April 2020

81% of Australians support JobKeeper for all Casual Workers

New polling shows more than eight in ten Australians support extending the wage subsidy, known as the JobKeeper program, to all casual workers, regardless of how long they have worked at their place of employment. The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,008 people between 3 and 6 April 2020. Key Findings: Australians

November 2019

‘Go Home on Time Day’ 2019: Australian Employers Pocketing $81 Billion Worth of Unpaid Overtime, Report Reveals

New research from The Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work estimates that Australian workers are currently working an average of 4.6 hours of unpaid overtime each week, which translates to 6 weeks of full time work without pay, per employee, per year – with an annual worth of $81.5 billion for Australian employers. The Centre’s

Chronic Unemployment a Consequence of Deliberate Economic Policies

There is a contradiction between Australian macroeconomic policy—which deliberately maintains unemployment at 5% or higher—and a culture that blames unemployed people for their own unemployment and hardships. New research from the Centre for Future Work shows that there is no statistical evidence for the long-held assumption that if unemployment falls below its so-called “natural” or

October 2019

University-to-Job Pathways Key to Boosting Graduate Employment Outcomes

New research shows active strategies to directly link university degrees to a job are needed, to better support university graduates as they negotiate a rapidly changing labour market. The report, by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, shows that employment outcomes for university graduates have deteriorated significantly since the Global Financial Crisis, with only

January 2019

Job Creation Record Contradicts Tax-Cut Ideology

by Jim Stanford

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released its detailed biennial survey of employment arrangements this week (Catalogue 6306.0, “Employee Earnings and Hours“). Once every two years, it takes a deeper dive into various aspects of work life. Buried deep in the dozens of statistical tables was a very surprising breakdown of employment by size of workplace. 

Rebuilding Vocational Training in Australia

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

December 2018

New Video: Australia Needs a Pay Rise!

by Jim Stanford

Jim Stanford, Director of the Centre for Future Work, was recently featured in a new video produced in collaboration with United Voice and the Flip production company. The video highlights the problems of wage stagnation in Australia’s economy, and the need to “Change the Rules” – including proposals for sector-wide collective bargaining practices, especially important

Industry-Wide Bargaining Good for Efficiency, as Well as Equity

by Anis Chowdhury

In this commentary, Centre for Future Work Associate Dr. Anis Chowdhury discusses the economic benefits of industry-wide collective bargaining. In addition to supporting wage growth, industry-wide wage agreements generate significant efficiency benefits, by pressuring lagging firms to improve their innovation and productivity performance. The experience of other countries (such as Germany and Singapore) suggests that

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