Casualization Casualisation of the Workforce in Australia Essay

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Casualisation of the Workforce in Australia

What exactly is casualisation?

Casualisation tends to have two distinct meanings. According to the international literature, casualisation refers to the general spreading of poor, working conditions. Some of the conditions deemed bad include; insecurities in employment, low wages that are hardly satisfying to the workers, lack of benefits of employment, working during irregular times and intermittent employment. In the Australian concept and labor market, the word casualisation has been narrowed down to a more solid meaning. Due to the availability of prominence in certain employments of the labor market, the employments are deemed to be of 'casual nature' (May, Campbell & Burgess, 2011, p.1). The word "casual" has always been used both in the Australian labor market and in the country's sociological setup for many years. These social entities include aspects of law (agreements and legislation), offices or general organizations, everyday conversations judicial deliberations, in different cultural settings and many others.

The Australian Case

One of the fundamental agents associated with casualisation in Australia is the engagement in temporary staffing. The issue of temporary staffing has formed a large section of the labor market, and the practice aims at meeting the expectations of clients using contracted workers, who are not on permanent employment basis. The practice in most cases is pressured and geared on by specific agencies that have specialized in temporary staffing services. However, the role of the agencies was not to inflict the market with casualisation effects, but rapidly increase the competitive wheel and power of a country or state. In Australia, for instance, agencies that provide the staff to the labor market have done quite well, and accrued many successful ventures hence expanding the trends to a broader section of the country. Many other countries are emulating the same so that the temporary staffing could be integrated into the market through legalization of regulations. The main reforms in Australia, which are linked to temporary staffing, were experienced in the 20th century and part of the 21st century. There was a strong claim and belief by the society confirming that during that moment it was the staffing agencies that were featuring best in the industrial and business ventures in Australia (Coe, Johns & Ward, 2009, p 57).

Effects of the Australian culture to Casualisation trends

Compared to the other countries, Australia has proved to maintain a culture of part-time jobs, and jobs that are temporary. The part-time jobs in Australia are mostly dominated by mostly the young workers and women workers. The part-time jobs are left for youth and women because of the levels of professional demand and work. In most cases, the part time jobs offered are not demanding, and the potential of flexibility is not limited. Those workers with the option of part-time offers always multi-task, working for organizations and in the same time taking care of family and education. Both part-time and temporary employments are forms of casualisation and are usually related to intermediary labor market experiences. However, it is significant to note that being a casual means being marginalized from the rights attached to employment, regardless of whether the job is permanent or part-time (Burgess, Campbell & May, 2008, p.163).

Casualisation has been linked to the effects of globalization, as the international market also suffers the trend in markets. This includes countries in America and Africa, for example, West African countries like Nigeria (Danesi, 2010, p.1). Employment forms in Australia indicated the growth rates of casualisation to be tremendous. In 1982, the rate of casual workers had gotten to 13% of the entire population of workers. By 1997, the percentage had risen to 25% of the total workforce, an increase of over 10% from the previous rating. In the year 1994, 85% of the workforce was made up of purely casual workers. In fact, casualisation is linked to many causes in Australia, such as employer strategies, labor deregulation policies of the government and excess labor in the markets. Unemployment rates of the country were out of control, causing citizens to get desperate for job opportunities (Clare, 1998, p.1).

Effects of casualisation in Australia

Casualisation has had terrible impacts in the general workforce of Australia. In the case of higher education, casualisation has caused scenarios where educational technologies cannot be functionally availed to those employed casually. This resulted due to a simple fact. The staff training on how to use the technological inputs was employed on casual terms, and could only be able to train online, due to the busy schedules involved. In fact, about 15% of the employment opportunities in the universities in Australia were based on casual working. Therefore, most of the institutions in the country are undergoing hardships in coping with their operations, with the main reason being casualisation. Pressure is mounting on the institutions, with no one to teach. The society is suffering acute shortage of professional leaders. In return, the institutions are trying to integrate shorter courses in the schools, to reduce training periods. Nonetheless, the step taken has caused threats of the teachers on permanent contracts to lose their jobs. Evidently, the learning institutions of Australia are undergoing traumatizing moments, due to imbalances in the staff (Smithers, 2010, p.1).

Community Healthcare Concerns

The Australian people are developing health complications due to the casualisation of the workforce. The growth in rates of employment for the casual workers has led to reduced productivity in the workplaces, as most of the workers do not have time to exercise their bodies. Skills are slowly depleting, as the youth who are supposed to be leading in innovative and skillful manpower, are so much engaged into casual jobs, which hardly pay fruitfully. Even the comparison between the working times and the social life is imbalanced with more time dedicated for working in different places in short periods. Most of the workers go to their respective places of work in sickly conditions, meaning their potential at work is reduced greatly. Performance of the employees is not effective. In addition, most of the workers do not see health specialists for any treatment or checkup. This is because of the limited time the workers have. If the same trends are to continue, then the Australians will not only lose their skills and abilities, but also suffer from stress related ailments that could be prevented easily by regulation of casualisation growth rates (Management Blog, 2008, p.1).

Challenge of the nurses part-time choice

Internationally, the demand for qualified nurses has always been high, compared to the supply. However, the current situation in Australia is getting to the extremes. That notwithstanding, planners in the workforce section and many researchers noted that the situation could possibly get worse if there were no incentives to curb casualisation. The cases in Australia are so severe to extent the nurses are consulting trade unions and industrial organizations to fight for their rights. Most of the nurses are working on part-time offers, in order to attend to as many people as possible. As the workers fight, for better working conditions and better remunerations, they again contradict themselves by seeking casual workers! (Creegan, Duffield & Forrester, 2003, p.207) As an emergency, programs are to be set to remedy and educate the workforce on the effects of casualisation. Of the entire workforce, it is the nurses and healthcare specialists that are most affected due to the fact that, all healthcare facilities are supposed to have working staff all the time, to attend to emergencies which could happen in the night hours. Managers find it difficult to cope with the pressure, and are usually forced to get casual workers who exercise flexibility at work all through the day, but in shifts.

Casualisation and politics

Under the Howard Government, the highest growth of the casual employment has occurred in history. The issue of politics is discussed due to its link to social life. The trends and growth rates of casualisation have recently attracted political interest. The Labor party in Australia has recently recommended its policies and strategies. Among the strategic plans, the Party has asked the Industrial Relations Commission to consider prevention measures, which will aim at regulating the use of casual employment (ANZ Economic Update, 2004, p.2). In the policy, there are regulations demanding that employers who contract employees for periods exceeding six months are to turn the contracts to permanent contracts. This was to be effected as fast as possible, because the data collected was indicating that over half of those working as casuals had worked in the same state for over a year. This meant long periods of low wages, poor conditions for working and stressful work. Though the conversion, of employment contracts would be the most appropriate to curb the casualisation rate, most of the organizations are ignoring the incentive and opting for casual workers. Definitely, this is because the employees are cutting costs more when they pay peanuts to the casual workers.

The risk of unemployment

Casualisation is a reality in the current workforce and labor…

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