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Increasing Workforce Participation

Workforce participation matters because it affects the economic growth potential of Melbourne’s west. Joblessness (or non-participation) represents a big waste of the region’s economic potential.

Melbourne’s west presently has the highest proportion of household incomes coming from government benefits when compared with other Melbourne regions. Higher workforce participation in Melbourne’s west can also serve social inclusion and equity goals and reduce the fiscal pressures on governments and tax-payers/rate-payers associated with providing welfare support.

When considering the potential for increasing workforce participation, an important aspect is the extent to which labour is underutilised. Underutilised labour covers people not working but who would like to work and those working, but not working as many hours as they would like.

The main drivers for divergent unemployment and underemployment rates within Melbourne’s west are:

  • population ageing (concentrated in particular pockets of the region)
  • working age population growth rates higher than new employment capacity in some areas
  • the size of the labour market catchment
  • the skills of the working age population.

There are four key groups in Melbourne’s west who are at risk of exclusion from workforce participation:

  • young people, who will find it very hard to gain careerbased employment
  • migrants, including and particularly refugees where the main barrier is English language skills, though sometimes cultural barriers are evident
  • mature people seeking to return to the workforce
  • people with limited educational and vocational qualifications.

There is opportunity to improve workforce participation in Melbourne’s west by building on successful projects providing unemployed and disadvantaged young people with training and on the job skills development, such as the Sustainable Employment and Economic Development (SEED) project.

To learn more about the targets, priority actions and responsibilities for enhancing the Productive Economy in Melbourne’s west, please download a copy of the Western Agenda (links below).

If you would like to discuss Productive Economy issues with LeadWest, please contact us.

Date Name File Size
Jul 4, 2013 Jobs and Industry Strategy for Melbourne's West 6.81 MB
Jul 4, 2013 Looking West 4.65 MB