Long-term jobless struggling to find work

Mature-age jobseekers and people with disabilities are among thousands of Australians struggling to re-enter the workforce despite low unemployment.

About 15 people across Australia are competing for each entry-level job and one in 10 faces barriers to work, according to Anglicare Australia.

Last year, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 3.4 per cent, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.

While the federal government has touted its low unemployment rate as a success, experts say some Australians are being left behind.

Nearly half a million people are unemployed while more than 95,000 face barriers to work such as a lack of recent experience or qualifications.

Anglicare executive director Kasy Chambers said older workers and people with disabilities struggle the most with long-term unemployment and spend about five years looking for work.

"These are not people who are absolutely hopeless, they're people we've all been," Ms Chambers told AAP.

"People without qualifications, without current experience, older workers, younger workers, people who might not have English as a second language and people who are returning to the workforce after a break."

The number of entry-level jobs has dropped from about 25 per cent in 2006 to 10 per cent in 2022, she added.

"(The government) should be creating entry-level opportunities in growing industries, like aged and disability care, that can lead to long-term careers," Ms Chambers said.

In its Creating Jobs, Creating Opportunity report, Anglicare recommends a range of measures to help get more people into work, such as ending incentives for short-term training programs that fail to deliver results.

The organisation also recommends an increase in JobSeeker and related payments to the Henderson poverty line.

The JobSeeker rate is $668.40 a fortnight for a single person.

The federal government is weighing up a lift in welfare payment rates, following talks with senators to secure the passage of workplace laws last year, but no final decision has been made.

"We need to overhaul Workforce Australia. This system props up private companies and costs taxpayers millions each year, but it fails at getting people into work," Ms Chambers said.

"Instead we should be helping people build long-term skills, making it easier for them to re-train at TAFE or go back to school."

A spokesman from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations said while the number of Australians in jobs remains at a record high, a committee is reviewing employment service Workforce Australia's model.

"The Committee will conduct a number of public hearings and is seeking submissions from stakeholders as part of this process," the spokesman said.

"It will report to Parliament in September 2023. In the interim, the department continues to actively monitor the impact of Workforce Australia, and regularly engages with participants and key stakeholders to inform continuous program improvement."