Cost-effective, hassle-free, fruitful: what recruitment must be for Australian SMEs


Since launching in July 2015, the Federal Government’s employment services program, jobactive, has helped employers from across Australia recruit more than 400,000 suitably skilled workers.

The popularity of jobactive with employers is attributable to the range of services, available through the program, that make it cost-effective and hassle-free for businesses, especially SMEs, to recruit staff who are matched to their needs. Below is an overview of the key services available to employers and the value their business can derive.

Tailored services

By tapping into a network of jobactive providers from over 1,700 locations across Australia, employers gain access to tailored, end-to-end recruitment services at no cost to their business.

An employer’s local jobactive provider can recommend a shortlist of screened and job-ready candidates based on an assessment of their specific business requirements including the job vacancy or vacancies they need filled.

If required, the provider will arrange for the best-suited job candidates to receive work-related equipment and/or undergo pre-employment training to help them obtain the skills the employer needs. In addition, the provider will offer support while the new employee or employees settles in. This offering is a huge boon for resource-poor small businesses, especially considering the financial and opportunity costs associated with bad hires.

 Self-service

As an alternative to engaging their local jobactive provider, an employer may choose to advertise and self-manage their job vacancies. Using the free online jobs board on jobactive’s website or the free jobactive Employer app (available from iTunes and Google Play), employers can shortlist, rate and contact candidates from one dashboard.

Wage subsidies

There are financial incentives for business that employ job seekers through jobactive. Businesses that meet the eligibility criteria can access wage subsidies of up to $10,000 by hiring workers aged 15 to 24 years of age or those aged 50 and above. Meanwhile, businesses that hire eligible job seekers who are 25 to 29 years of age, principal carer parents, in long-term unemployment or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can obtain up to $6,500 in wage subsidies.

The financial incentive for engaging mature workers with a jobactive Restart wage subsidy is the government’s strategy for harnessing the skills of the ageing population. It is also serves as a reminder to employers that workers aged 50 and above are not only reliable and flexible but, owing to their lifetime of experiences, make great mentors to their younger colleagues and can offer unique insights that help businesses capitalise on ageing customer bases.

The government has stated that employers can use the subsidies, which are paid by their jobactive provider over a six-month period, to help cover the costs of hiring and training new staff. Critically, employers can set the payment schedule to suit their needs.

There is an option to receive 40% of the total wage subsidy four weeks after onboarding a new employee. Employers can also elect to receive subsidy payments of a fortnightly basis to help them manage their cashflow – a pain point for many SMEs.

Trial a job seeker

To help employers make informed hiring decisions, jobactive offers programs that allow them to trial pre-hires and thus determine whether they will be a good fit for their business.

Under the National Work Experience Programme, employers host suitable job seekers, referred to them by their jobactive provider, in unpaid work experience placements of up to 25 hours a week, for a maximum of four weeks. This period is an opportunity for job seekers to demonstrate their skills and good work attitude while gaining experience and confidence that increase their value to the host employer. Following the placement, there is no obligation for the employer to hire a job seeker if they do not meet their business needs; however, if a job seeker is a good fit and is offered ongoing employment, the employer may be eligible for a wage subsidy.

Meanwhile, Youth Jobs PaTH enables employers to trial a young person, aged 17 to 24, in a structured, supervised internship placement lasting between four and 12 weeks. For the duration of the placement, both the employer and the intern will receive support from the assigned jobactive provider. To help them cover the costs of hosting an intern, employers receive a one-off payment of $1000. Plus, all interns are insured for the duration of their placement. As with National Work Experience, employers that engage an intern in full-time employment may be eligible for a wage subsidy of up to $10,000.

For more information on jobactive, including the services available to employers and the wage subsidies they may be eligible for, visit the jobactive website.