Work and economic security
Paid employment can provide a path out of poverty. But low wages, insecure work and rising costs of living mean that for many people in Australia a job does not guarantee economic security.
Despite sustained economic growth in Australia, inequality persists and the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Unemployment and underemployment are increasing. Factors such as age, gender, disability or ill-health, and ethnic background may affect pathways into and in and out of work. People who rely on low wages or income support can struggle to make ends meet.
Our research and policy work examines the links between the changing nature of work, social and economic policy, inequality and insecurity. We study the current and future impacts for those groups in society, including recent migrants, that are more likely than others to experience poverty and social exclusion. Our work informs the development of policies and programs to address the growing differences in employment opportunity and economic security.
Social procurement Exploring how to leverage purchasing expenditure to create job opportunities and achieve other social objectives
Trampolines not traps: re-imagining income support for single mothers and their children
Reclaiming social security
This project explores the adequacy and targeting of income support – and the impact of conditions imposed on people who receive it.
Young people took photos to shed light on their experiences of education or employment.
This study will explore the diversity of older workers’ work–health dilemmas and effective national policies to solve them.
What factors inhibit or enable the economic security of migrants on Safe Haven Enterprise visas or Temporary Protection visas?
Enhancing employment services for mature-age jobseekers
While policy responses to workforce age discrimination tend to focus on the role of employers, this research focused on employment services.
How are low and moderate income households coping with financial uncertainty?
This study examined mature aged people's lived experience, pathways and outcomes of involuntary non-participation or underparticipation in paid work.
The latest stage of this unique longitudinal study examines how family income, social class, ethnicity and gender affect the education and employment pathways of young people.
Getting to work: insights about the transition from education to employment from the Life Chances Study, Stage 11
Employment services aren’t working for older jobseekers, jobactive staff or employers article in The Conversation
Basic income: a solution to what? presentation at the John Cain Foundation
Working for everyone online resources for josbeekers and those who assist them
Basic income: trade-offs and bottom lines working paper
Understanding financial wellbeing in times of insecurity working paper
Four articles related to mature-age employment in Social Policy and Society vol. 15, no. 4
A gendered analysis of age discrimination among older jobseekers in Australia, by Michael McGann, Rachel Ong, Dina Bowman, Alan Duncan, Helen Kimberley and Simon Biggs, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper 16/01
Article by John van Kooy in Forced Migration Review
Mature age jobseekers face an awkward situation
Making sense of youth transitions from education to work. The term 'youth transitions' has become increasingly fraught as the age range of 'youth' is stretched.
Employer toolkits: towards inclusive employment
The strengths and limitations of ‘toolkits’ designed to help employers remove barriers for jobseeker groups.
No! Not equal
Dina Bowman and Yvette Maker address the gender inequality that prevents many Australian women from achieving economic security, in a publication by Future Leaders. Download the No! Not equal text by chapter
What’s the difference? Jobseeker perspectives on employment assistance
Understanding employer engagement programs for disadvantaged jobseekers: an exploratory study