This is a group of people who are a problem in any country but how we treat them, and how we view them, is a measure of a country’s humanity.
Currently the Australian Liberal Coalition Government is trying to wave a big stick at them which is unlikely to be very effective. There are two aspects to the proposed solution. One is to make sure that the unemployed are doing either training or voluntary work for a given number of hours a week and the other is to force them to apply for 40 jobs a month. The latter in the past has proved farcical. If there aren’t any jobs suitable for the unemployed then this is not only a waste of time, including for those on the receiving end of the applications, but is also demoralising. Can you imagine receiving 40 reject letters a month (that’s if the recipients bother to reply). Being told that you are not wanted with that frequency is likely to increase the depression rates in this group.
I have no problem with training if it is relevant to jobs which may become available. Neither have I a problem with voluntary work but it needs to be handled carefully by those providing it. Those doing it need to be treated with respect and the work needs to be valued.
In the second world war women were employed to replace the men who were fighting and there were concerns that there would be no jobs for the men when they returned. In fact job numbers increased as the women brought new ideas into the workforce.
Unemployment is the current problem but it is tied in with the large numbers of people who can’t wait to retire when they reach the age to receive a pension. Research shows that this is because they don’t feel valued at work. Could this also be part of the reason why we have so many unemployed? If employers made each employee feel valued, and appreciated and encouraged participation, would the numbers of unemployed decrease and also those who can’t wait to retire and get out of the workforce (including public servants!) decrease? I suspect that if we increase the perceived value of current jobs, then new ones, and new ways of doing things, will appear. We humans are very creative and imaginative and I believe that this is where our future and our prosperity lies.
In his work with those who live in poverty in Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus was confronted by young people who had been given scholarships to go to University and then couldn’t get jobs. His reaction was to encourage them to go out and create jobs. He pointed out that their ancestors didn’t sit around in caves writing job applications! If we took the same attitude towards those who are unemployed and assisted them to create new jobs what a richer country we would be, not just in monetary terms. The same applies to those who are desperately anxious to retire. Having the purpose provided by a job for all groups is much healthier. Our wealth is in our people. We found this when women were able to join the work force during the war. We should be encouraging creativity.