We’re Hot in the Press
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Job platform Workible has announced its partnership with WiC Group to expand its job reach to regional centres around Australia. Both companies have worked together to roll out 45 regional job sites to address the lack of access country residence have to local jobs. Each of the 45 sites that both WiC Group and Workible have created are in various stages of roll out and include sites like JobsInTheIllawarra.com.au and remote areas like the Pilbara Riverina in Western Australia. The sites will cover all work types, from casual to seasonal jobs, and permanent full time work in all industry sectors. The growth of Workible as a job tech provider has seen the company expand its software all over Australia and is now the largest connected network of job sites in the country.
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The creators of a mobile jobs board linking candidates to short-term work hope to help more people to find work and boost economies in regional areas where unemployment exceeds the national average. WiC Group founder Tim O’Brien, who has created online employment sites for the NSW central coast and Hunter Valley and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, teamed with Fiona Anson from the two-way, web-based job matching service Workible to help link people to work in regional areas. “People can go on and say: ‘I have these skills, I’m available,’ and it uses mobile push technology to connect employers and jobseekers,” Anson says. “If you’ve got someone on the land and they need hay balers, instead of putting an ad up or going into town they can put an ad on the site which notifies people immediately, and they can do an interview on their mobile. “We’re connecting people across large locations quickly.” Many of the positions are short term or casual, and many are in retail, agriculture and hospitality. The sites are aimed at the increasingly flexible workforce picking up work at short notice, near where they live. O’Brien says the sites meet the needs of the local regions because people know they can find work near home without going to major jobs boards. In areas such as the Hunter Valley, where unemployment has risen from 2.3 per cent in early 2012 to 12 per cent because of the downturn in mining, O’Brien says the region faces some complex issues. He has had widespread support from regional small businesses keen to help solve the jobs crisis. “Local businesses want to be recognised as an employer of choice because they can also provide training and support services,” he says. “We recognise regional unemployment is 7.3 per cent nationally compared to 6.1 per cent generally and we think it’s realistic to bring that in line through harnessing technology and using collaborative practices to help connect jobseekers and employers.” O’Brien anticipates health service job growth as the National Disability Insurance Scheme ramps up, and in technology-related areas. Anson says since Workible launched four years ago it has been able to connect small businesses with potential staff at short notice, which means more work for some people and less pressure on owners to work longer hours and cover shortages. “It might not be full time but small-business owners are less stressed and people can find themselves more skilled by doing two or three casual jobs,” she says. The regional sites also can provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates on why they missed out on jobs, including whether their skills need upgrading. “We can go to the jobseeker and say: ‘We noticed you don’t have your responsible service of alcohol qualifications and you could consider further education,’ ” Anson says. Workible then can refer unsuccessful candidates to local trainers for advice on skills. Workible links 190,000 people nationally and connects 1500 companies to those workers. Anson says some of the larger national companies are using the site to find workers in regional areas where they have positions, and she has been able to notify communities in advance if organisations or even shopping centres are expanding and preparing to take on new staff. “These sorts of initiatives we look for all the time: who’s expanding, who’s looking to find full-time people,” she says. “It lets us create a community around your platform and tell people what’s coming up.” The WiC Group has close to 15,000 people accessing its central coast website monthly and the Hunter Valley has about 10,000 users. Analysis tells O’Brien 86 per cent of his website traffic is local. In the Hunter and central coast the site is also aimed at commuters who travel to Sydney or north. “One of the reasons we set up Jobs on the Coast is that there are 40,000 people who commute out of here every day, it gives those commuters an advantage in the local community,” O’Brien says. Mayor pins hopes on technology NSW’s Hunter Valley has been battling rising unemployment for years, which was not helped by the closure of BHP Billiton’s steelworks in Newcastle and the Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter. Since 2011, unemployment has more than doubled to pass 11 per cent. But Maitland City Council mayor Peter Blackmore hopes the booming technology industry will provide jobs. “It’s not all about coal mining,” he says. “I can appreciate that for a lot of young people starting school, jobs have not been created yet. Modern technology will provide jobs in the future.” Blackmore says manufacturing was the main employer 35 years ago, but this has been replaced by retail. Young people are leaving regional communities as job prospects deteriorate. The issue of reduced milk and dairy quotas has led to a generation of farming children who can no longer work on family farms. “Some of the smaller rural properties have not been able to support a full family in that industry, so younger people do look further afield,” he says. Blackmore says younger people look to other opportunities, such as further study, but there is no guarantee they will return to rural industries. The growth in the technology sector, however, could bring them home. Blackmore praises the NSW and federal governments for promoting job creation in technology and infrastructure. “We all rely on all levels of government to work together but there is only so much money in the pie,” he says. “No matter how you carve it up it’s still just the one-sized pie, but both levels of government are trying.” Simon Ruppert
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Jobseekers in Australia, New Zealand, the US and UK could soon be able to get a head start on new vacancies by tapping their NFC phone against signs, posters and window stickers placed in shopping centres and business locations, thanks to a partnership between NFC and contactless platform provider Tapit and mobile and social recruitment app Workible. By tapping their NFC phone against a participating company’s sign, or scanning a QR code, users can register their interest in the firm and get information about new vacancies sent directly to their phones. The system is currently being rolled out in Newcastle, Australia, with brands introducing it in August 2015, and will then expand to New Zealand, the US and UK. “When a user taps their phone on the touchpoint, if they are already registered on Workible and logged in, they will be instantly joined to that company’s Talent Community, which gives them a head start on all of that company’s jobs, plus the company can engage with them via video, updates, polls, events and special offers,” Jamie Conyngham, CEO of Tapit, explained to NFC World. “If the user is not already registered with Workible, they’ll be navigated to the company’s Talent Community page where they can view all available jobs, company information and their updates. “Then, if the user chooses to join, they’ll register and instantly become part of that company’s Talent Community. The experience is the same in all locations.” “Tap and go is the next big thing,” adds Alli Baker, director and co-founder of Workible. “We’re using it to reinvent the traditional ‘We’re Hiring’ sign to make finding a job — and staff — easier.”
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HOLROYD City Council partnered with South West Connect and TAFE to address the jobs and skills shortages across Western Sydney by hosting the 2015 Seek A Skill Careers Expo last month. The two-day event gave more than 1200 local students from Holroyd, Fairfield and Liverpool, the opportunity to receive a unique and interactive ‘hands on’ insight into a trade, job or industry. Holroyd City Council Mayor Greg Cummings said a total of 42 exhibitors from a wide range of trades and industries passed on valuable information, tips and experience about their respective careers and career paths. “The expo provided a great chance for students to learn first-hand about all types of different jobs and industries, what’s involved in them and the best ways they can reach their career goals,” Mayor Cummings said. “Carpentry exhibits students were taught practical skills like correctly sawing a piece of wood and shown how to use a drill press properly, whilst at the automotive exhibit students were timed on how quickly they could change a tyre. “Most exhibitors planned activities that really interacted well with the students, and it was easy to see the smiles and fun they were having. “Q&A sessions were also held throughout the Expo, and Council will be evaluating all the feedback from students and exhibitors for our future jobs events. “Holroyd Council is committed to tackling youth unemployment and skills shortages in the area any way we can and we will continue to engage with young people in our community to give them direction and guidance at every opportunity we can.” The Expo also saw the launch of exciting, new mobile technology which allows local jobseekers to connect with businesses who need workers in the area. Developed in Australia, the WORKible app reduces the complexity of connection and awareness and significantly reduces both costs and time for businesses looking to hire and allows jobseekers to find out local jobs easy, wherever they are. “Most employers make do with a scattergun approach of newspaper ads, mainstream job boards, asking friends and families and signs in store windows but all of this amounts to a time consuming and costly process that often delivers less than stellar results,” Co-Founder, Fiona Anson, said. “Using WORKible, Holroyd City jobseekers can join the Holroyd City Shortlist to find work in the community. “By registering on this Shortlist, jobseekers will be alerted to job opportunities in the area that match their availability, skills and interests the instant they become available – and all directly to their phone. And employers will have access to this on-tap talent pool of active candidates anytime, anywhere. When a business in the Holroyd area needs to find staff, they can post the opportunity in less than a minute through WORKible and instantly notify all of the local candidates that match their needs. “They can even video interview them to save them travel time until they know they’re perfect for the job.” The App makes is the ideal tool for young jobseekers that need to work around school, college or university hours, working parents, carers or family obligations. “WORKible is working alongside local community groups, education providers, job placement services, Government offices and business associations with a common goal of getting more local people into work and making finding people easier and cheaper for local businesses. Small businesses can post up to one job per month absolutely free. “For some businesses, especially those who might be feeling the pinch of the current economic climate, having subsidies like these available can make the difference between hiring an extra pair of hands – or working another 20 hours a week themselves. This platform will allow those business owners to identify candidates that come with the appropriate subsidies.” Job seekers can join The Holroyd City Shortlist now by visiting www.workible.com.au or downloading the WORKible App from the App Store or Google Play.
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As employment issues make headlines around the country, entities privy to the challenges of employers and employees bemoan “rigidity”. Last month’s jobless figures reached 6.4 per cent – the highest since mid-2002 – as the Productivity Commission’s reputed wide-sweeping review of the country’s workplace relations system began. Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce chief executive Kate Carnell told SmartCompany more than a week ago that the “rigidity of the industrial relations system” was a significant hurdle for SMEs wanting to employ staff. “It’s a risk to employ people when it’s really hard to down-size. We desperately have to make it easier for SMEs to employ and shed staff if business doesn’t go well.” Alli Baker Headshot ALLI BAKER, WORKIBLE Employment site Workible engages with both sides of the workforce equation, and recognises barriers to employers and employees looking to come together. [Read PubTIC article on Workible.] “We see a lot of SME employers struggling to navigate the industrial relations system while keeping their businesses staffed with quality employees,” Workible director Alli Baker told PubTIC. “And sadly, we also see a lot of them fail miserably, which leads to crippling staff turnover rates, employment relations nightmares, and in the end, costs Australian businesses a lot of time and money. “The systems and mainstream tools in place don’t make it easy for employers to tap into the talent they need to run and grow their businesses, and when it all becomes ‘too hard’, it stifles employment and hurts both employers and employees.” Baker says there is a “goldmine of talent out there searching for an opportunity”, yet SMEs often lack the knowledge of the system or resources to hire cost-effectively. Workible produces an app that allows job seekers to register interest in employers or categories of employment, and collates these as per the needs of employers posting jobs, to dramatically cut the time to hire and cost of recruitment
From baristas to barbers, cooks to cleaners, The GPT Group’s new Wollongong Central shopping centre will provide jobs for more than 800 people. The Keira Street centre’s 80 new stores will provide a massive employment boost and curb escape spending. In what’s believed to be a first in Australia, GPT will use one provider, Workible, to run a co-ordinated digital recruitment process linking Wollongong Central retailers with job and training agencies, community organisations such as The Salvation Army and The Smith Family, TAFE Illawarra and nine Illawarra high schools.
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The GPT Group is taking a high-tech approach to filling the hundreds of retail jobs in its Wollongong Central expansion. To help the new businesses find staff, GPT has created an online employment shortlist with digital recruitment company Workible.
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