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1 in 3 job seekers are denied employment opportunities

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MAX Solutions, has released the results of a survey into the impact of digital skills and resources on finding work. 

The Digital Divide white paper seeks to provide a better understanding of the challenges that people with unequal access to digital technology and skills encounter in securing and maintaining employment. 

Australian workplaces have seen a 12% increase in demand for digital skills since 2016 and by the year 2026 could be facing a shortfall of more than 300,000 workers with the appropriate digital skills. 

Yet for many Australians, there exists a digital divide, a lack of digital literacy skills, poor or no access to information and communications technology, compounded by the effects and implications of the use of digital recruitment technologies and AI in the employment market. 

Of those impacted, it disproportionately affects people with disability, those with low levels of education or employment history or those who have other traditional barriers to employment such as those who are culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) or mature age. 

This digital divide creates additional barriers for those seeking work who do not have the resources or requisite skills to engage with an increasingly automated and artificial employment process. 

“An often-repeated claim about digital technology is that it opens up a wealth of economic opportunities,” said MAX Solutions Managing Director Darren Hooper.   

“While this may be true for some, those who don’t have the skills or the access to digital resources are effectively denied these opportunities.” 

According to Hooper, when you consider that those who lack reliable internet access, their own PC, or solid digital skills, often experience economic, physical, or cultural disadvantage, it becomes a serious equity issue.  

“Digital skills, while important for Australia’s economic future, are far more wide-reaching in their impact as digital technology becomes enmeshed in our everyday lives.” 

Related: ImpactInstitute secures $1.4M grant for disability employment expos

“While digital access is not formally a human right, digital access is critical for addressing disadvantage and something government and businesses need to address,” he added. 

“The focus of the current unemployment system needs to change too.” 

Hopper highlighted that in order to focus on the right job for the right person, instead of a focus on a job right now, there needs to be a stronger emphasis on the provision of education and support for those who need it. 

As new technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more prominent and jobs continue to shift towards needing more complex skills, there is a very real danger of more people being left behind or left out of the opportunities of the future.  

Employers should be future-proofing their businesses by investing more in the digital skills of their staff and minimising the barriers within their recruitment processes. 

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Pearl Dy is a community manager and journalist. She is passionate about business and development particularly involving not-for-profits, charity and social entrepreneurship.

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