Vol. 38 No. 1 2012

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    Women's participation in mining: what can we learn from EOWA reports?
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012) Lord, Linley; Jefferson, Therese; Eastham, Judy
    Various stakeholders associated with the mining sector have voiced concerns over current or projected skill and labour shortages that might affect output and productivity within their industry. In this context, policies that facilitate the recruitment and retention of women have been discussed as presenting an opportunity through which to address labour shortages and, in doing so, to enhance equity by improving women's employment in Australia's most highly paid industry. In this paper, we use information contained in company reports to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) to assess recent reported actions by the mining industry to enhance the recruitment and retention of women employees. We find considerable shortcomings in available data, coupled with little evidence of coordinated or concerted industry activity to deal with issues that might assist with promoting women's participation in the industry.
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    Adding insult to injury: how work-life pressures affect the participation of low-paid workers in vocational education and training
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012) Pocock, Barbara; Skinner, Natalie Jane
    This paper applies a work-life lens to examine the barriers and challenges confronting low-paid workers in their participation in vocational education and training. It utilises data from a large national survey of Australian workers, as well as qualitative material arising from interviews and focus groups amongst workers, students, and industry representatives in the retail, food processing, and aged-care industries. The findings illustrate how money and time pressures constrain the participation of low-paid workers in vocational education, and how these particularly affect low-paid women. Implications for policy are discussed.
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    What are the characteristics of the employers of the low paid in Australia?
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012) McGuinness, Seamus; Webster, E; Mavromaras, Kostas
    Service-sector employers from Communications; Accommodation, cafes and restaurants; Personal and other services; Retail trade; and Manufacturing have the highest densities of low-wage employees in Australia. In addition, the majority of all employers of the low paid were service-industry employers. A multivariate analysis found that employers of the low paid were more likely to be small firms employing a disproportionate share of casual labour. Employers of the low paid were more likely to be located in industries where labour costs form a relatively smaller proportion of turnover (possibly because of high material costs) and where there were higher rates of businesses recording a loss of profit. In addition, substantial regional differences remain in the presence of industry controls, indicating that state-level differences in the incidence of low-paying employers cannot be fully accounted for by the other factors.
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    Dark corners in a bright economy: the lack of jobs for unskilled men
    (National Institute of Labour Studies, 2012) Gregory, Robert G
    This paper discusses the large reductions in full-time employment among unskilled Australian males that began in the 1970s and continued over the next three to four decades. Over this period, each recession led to large falls in the male full-time employment--population ratio, and during each economic recovery the employment ratio failed to move back to its previous levels. Unemployment fell during each output recovery, not in response to employment gains, but in response to large-scale withdrawals from the labour market into the welfare system. The loss of unskilled jobs for men has been associated with falling marriage rates and increasing use of the welfare system by single women. The paper concludes by briefly assessing some of the impacts of the new resource boom on these long-run labour market and welfare trends, and discusses the potential for different labour-market outcomes emerging across mineral and non-mineral Australian states.