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Caught between Obligation and Exclusion: The Plight of Mature Age Jobseekers in Australia’s Employment Services System


Cheryl Sykes and Marylène Gagné

This report presents a detailed qualitative study of mature age individuals navigating Australia's mandatory employment services while on income support. Aimed at exploring the challenges and experiences of these jobseekers, the study utilised open comments from online surveys across five time intervals with a sample of 173 respondents. Participants comments are discussed through three themes:

  • The impact of 'mutual obligations’ requirements and ‘work first’ policy settings.

  • The quality and value of the service received from employment service providers.

  • Interactions with the labour market and employers.

Additional quantitative insights were gained on two other factors of interest: occupational and worker identities and their relationship with future job prospects.


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