Unemployed doesn’t mean unemployable.

The unemployment rate has fallen to 3.4% – a 50 year low according to new data from the ABS released today. If you’re working & not seeking a new role this may not be of any particular interest to you. If you’re a job seeker or an employer you should be very interested in this data.

Employers are telling us they are finding it harder than ever to fill jobs. With 474,000 unemployed people & 480,000 job vacancies in May 2022, that’s not a great surprise. Even employers choosing to DIY via a job advertisement at SEEK now receive a warning to expect a low number of applications. Here at Sportspeople Recruitment we’re busier than ever assisting a number of employers after they’ve failed via the traditional DIY route.

One of the real game changers for the labour market has been a shift, forcing employers to consider long term & medium term unemployed candidates. The circumstances for unemployment are many & often as simple as taking extended parental or sick leave. In a candidate over-supply these unemployed job seekers are often pushed to the end of the queue as employers seek out candidates with more contemporary experience. But in today’s market this same group represent an untapped and rich pool of talent & possibility.

That’s a good thing right?

I’m often puzzled when an employer considers a candidate eminently suitable for a role, but then places a significant weight on continuity of employment to rule them out. In life & work sometimes things just don’t work out for lots of people. A period of unemployment doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate is less capable of doing a role than someone who has had continuous employment.

At a personal level my daughter had a 5 year period of “unemployment” before making a successful return to an executive role in her chosen field. Over this time she was CEO of the Household meeting the daily challenges and responsibilities of managing 4 children, including her role as Judge, Family Therapist, Finance Manager, Reverse Psychologist, Nutritionist, Health Specialist, Logistics Manager & Chief Negotiator. When she returned to paid work she was certainly a more capable manager & there’s no doubt in my mind there was continuity & growth in her professional & personal development.

The medium & long term unemployed offer an exciting market for employers if they’d simply open their mind, throwing away misplaced prejudice. When considering a candidate for any job take a look at what they did before their break, find out what the circumstances were that allowed the break & check what other duties or professional/personal development they’ve had while on the break.

Employers – don’t bin the application of a candidate using continuity of employment as the criteria. Unemployment doesn’t mean unemployable.

Candidates – don’t hold back applying for roles regardless of continuity of employment & don’t be timid in highlighting what you’ve been doing on the break that adds to your personal & professional growth.

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