Alice job market down but not out

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

An Alice Springs labour hire company says business is down compared to a year ago and job seekers outnumber available positions about five to one, says Chris Jackson, of Centre Labourforce and Recruitment NT.
Before the downturn 150 people a week were contracted through the firm, she says.
That figure is now down to between 80 and 100.
And employers seeking to fill vacancies through CLF now number around five to 10 a week, compared to 25 a year ago.
Ms Jackson says a typical mix of weekly job applicants is 25 locals and 15 backpackers.
She says the service provided by her company suits short-term positions – putting up the K-Mart sails is one example – and people wanting to first try out a job, both workers and employers.
The firm contracts the workers – Ms Jackson calls them contractors – and administers their wages, payroll, super, workers comp and tax.
The business contracting the contractor gets an invoice weekly while the contractor is working.  If they want to take the contractor on as an employee they are charged a negotiated fee. If the business wants them to do recruiting for a position the commission is 5% of the wages below $50,000 a year, says Ms Jackson.
The firm does not qualify for government subsidies paid to other job network agencies.
If the job works out, from the view point of the employer as well as the contractor’s, then he can become an employee of the business.
If not the contractor would remain part of the firm’s labour force and, if possible, be re-deployed on other projects.
Ms Jackson says she rarely uses conventional advertising, on the web and print, because it attracts mostly people from overseas looking for 457 or holiday working visas.
It’s not possible to adequately assess the suitability of these people, says Ms Jackson.
She rather relies on people “coming through the door,” word of mouth and a network of 28 similar agencies around Australia.
She says the cost of housing in Alice Springs is a major problem for people from outside the town, but a good number of applicants already live here.

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