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2 Acknowledgements Co-researchers:  Natalie Skinner, Catherine McMahon, Deborah Green, Jude Elton, Suzanne Pritchard NCVER funded project  National VET Research and Evaluation Research Program ‘ Increasing VET participation amongst lower paid workers over the life-cycle’  2008 – 2010 Australian Work & Life Index (AWALI)  Funding partner: SafeWork SA, WA Government  Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project

3 Overview 1. The research 2. The context  The work, household and educational circumstances of workers and students in lower paid occupations  The work-life picture in 2010 3. Low paid workers, work-life issues & VET 1. Key findings 2. Implications for policy & practice

4 Centre for Work + Life (CWL) National Research Centre – UniSA Mission: To be the place to go for reliable research about the changing nature of work and its intersection with household, family, community and social life in Australia. Aims:  Generate innovative ideas about work & life to improve wellbeing  Inform and support evidence-based policy  Disseminate ideas & information to government, NGO, research and public audiences

5 Who we are

6 Why work-life issues & low paid workers? Life stage SpaceTime Power Macrosystem Labour law, education policy, welfare, migration, social norms, etc. Individual

7 Project aims and research questions ‘Work-life lens’ How do changing work, home and community structures impact on the participation of lower educated and low paid groups in VET; and what responses are appropriate? Are there unique work-life barriers & supports that impact on low paid workers’ willingness & capacity to engage in education & training?

8 Project team Multi-disciplinary:  Industrial relations  Labour economics  Sociology  Psychology  Government policy and administration  History Multi-methodologies  Quantitative  Qualitative  Iterative conversations with experts

9 Project methodology: overview Key components: 1. Literature review 2. Analysis of existing quantitative data: HILDA, NCVER Student Outcomes Survey, ABS data 3. New quantitative data collection: AWALI 2009 4. Qualitative data: focus groups/interviews nnon-residential aged care, retail and food processing industries 5. Qualitative data: stakeholder interviews GGovernment NCVER, industry skills councils, businesses, unions, academics, VET educators and equity/social inclusion specialists

10 In OECD, substantial proportion of labour market – 25% in US (and rising), 22% in Germany, 14% in Australia (depending on definition: if include youth and part- timers – 25%). Literature suggests:  Individual aspirations vary over life-course, by sex, age  AND institutions matter  Eg the conventional institutions of IR - minimum wage, industrial tribunals, workplace arrangements  But also social norms around care and social reproduction (who should do it), and the money, time and gender regimes in which people put together jobs, education, household and community life Context: the issue matters, institutions matter

11 Three kinds of regimes Inclusive (eg at present Denmark)  ie the work, education and social institutional mix creates positive outcomes for most and is broadly inclusive regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, industry or form of employment. Minimal opt outs arising from, for example, being part-time, or a carer or a casual Dualist (eg Germany)  At least two tracks exist – most commonly a good track for the full-time, care- free, full-time, permanent, male, with past positive educational experience, and poorer tracks for others Exclusionist (eg US)  Market-based exclusionary: market power buys inclusion, and approximates success. Many excluded from good employment, work/life and educational outcomes. Not fixed or static, but ‘path-dependent’ Australia’s ‘Fairness’ norm creates good platform for constant institutional innovation to create and recreate an inclusive system

12 To summarise the ‘narrative’ Some individualised adaptions to changing work, life circumstances...  Like part-time work, periods out of work to rear children, casual terms Result in low pay... And in exclusion from quality jobs, careers, quality VET... This reinforces long-term low pay... So a circuit of work/life/care/low pay is created, and shapes VET access and its outcomes  In some cases (eg poorly targetted training subsidies), aspects of VET provision reinforce and recreate low pay, with minimal real learning outcomes or pay-off in terms of higher pay or better jobs. We can do better....Better institutional arrangements?

13 Context: circumstances of low paid Small companies Private sector Women, part-timers, casuals, young people, lower skilled In service sector For most, not a transitory life-stage

14 Low paid and VET Major client group of VET 2/3rds of 2007 VET graduates were employers in lower paid occupations in the 6 months before training (eg in non-managerial, non-professional, non-trades/technical) Especially women (80% of VET graduates, 55% men) 2/3rds of VET graduates from lower paid occupations  Do not move into a different occupational skill level after training  Do not receive higher pay after graduation Major VET driver: compliance with workplace requirements

15 Literacy Half or more of adult Australians have ‘below adequate’ literacy in each literacy domain  prose, document literacy, numeracy and problem solving Strongly associated with low pay  workers with poor literacy are 2.15 times more likely to be low paid for each type of illiteracy  Very damaging to women’s earnings  Cast a long shadow over the ‘skills to learn skills’.

16 The work-life context

17 Measured using AWALI Random stratified survey of about 2800 employed Australians  2348 employees, 344 self-employed (2009) CATI (RDD) survey; 50% response rate Representative of the Australian labour force Data collected March/April 2009 Standard items: social & employment demographics, work-life interference Full NCVER report for 2009: Skinner (2009). Work-life issues and participation in education and training.

18 Work-life index – work-life interference 5-item scale  Work interference life/community activities  Work restrict time family/friends  Time pressure  Overall satisfaction WLB Standardised scale 0 (best) – 100 (worst) Internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha) =.82

19 Who is negatively affected and how many? Work negatively impacts on personal, family and community life for the majority of workers  For ¼ of workers this is often or ‘almost always’ the case The same groups of workers continue to have the worse work-life outcomes  Long hours workers  Women (comparing men and women working same hours)  Professionals and managers  Those with supervisors and workplace cultures that are inflexible and unsupportive  Those in poorer quality jobs (insecure, low control, low flexibility)  High and low paid (comparing those working same hours)

20 Combining work & care continues to be challenging

21 Working mothers rushed and pressed for time

22 Those in service industries also worse

23 Working fathers not immune

24 Time is of the essence...

25 Little appetite for longer hours for most Around half of all workers do not have a good fit between actual & preferred hours Many workers want to work less (by 4+ hours)  32% of women  40% of men Full-time 35-47 hours:  46% of women & 34% of men 48+ hours  72% of men & 77% of women A ‘poor fit’ between actual and preferred hours is associated with much worse work-life interference for those who work more than they prefer

26 What about low paid workers? Low paid occupations: clerical and administrative community and personal services sales and service production and transport machinery operators and drivers labouring and related occupations Low paid income: $< 30 000 pa NCVER Occasional Paper: Pocock (2009). Low-paid workers, changing patterns of work and life and participation in vocational education and training.

27 Low paid workers: Exist at the intersection of work-life and employment challenges Poor quality jobs reduce opportunities for good quality of work-life:  Insecurity  lack of career paths and training  unsocial hours  repetition and low skill  common experience of ‘churning’ between low paid jobs, punctuated by periods of unemployment  lack of time and money

28 Work-life pressures for low paid Lower paid workers are more likely to be working in smaller firms  less HR capacity, policy, flexible practices? Poorer conditions  less leave (like paid parental leave)  Only a quarter of women in private sector employment had access to any paid parental leave, compared to three-quarters in public sector (2005). Those on lower wages had less access. Less resources to ‘cushion’ work-life pressures  Pre-prepared food, formal childcare, cleaning, gardening, car  Spatial alignment of job/home/services more constrained – big stretch between job and home in big cities.  long commutes, less access to private transport resources

29 AWALI 2009: Education & training focus 16 questions Mix of open-ended & fixed response options Topics: CCurrent qualifications CCurrent & expected future participation (and level) RReasons for participation PPerceptions of future participation bbarriers & supports Terminology: ‘education & training’

30 Work-life outcomes of participation Participation increases work-life interference for:  Low paid workers participating in education and training  And more than for higher paid workers who participate

31 Work-life challenges of low paid work “I changed from a job of 21 years of rotating shifts, day and night, 12 hour shifts and you’d get every second weekend off but you worked every second weekend……... Therefore you miss out on a lot of what your kids do …... You’d race home in the morning and go and watch them play footy. Then they say, when are you going to come home tonight? But you can’t just push them aside, you’ve got to try....” Max, food processing worker

32 work-life penalty: women

33 Future participation? 75.7% not studying at time of survey Of these, 51.3% “not at all likely” to participate in next 12 months

34 E&T is viewed positively % of workers not currently in education or training


36 Not enough time for E&T % of workers not currently in education or training

37 E&T not fit with family & other life commitments % of workers not currently in education or training

38 What to do? + 40% wanted help with financial costs 20% want more time % of all workers (in E&T or not)

39 Question: What are the main things for you about participation (in VET) in the future? “I’d say financial. I’m trying to pay off a house and cars and things like that. Every cent counts. That and the time factor. I work about 45 hours a week at the moment and that’s pretty ongoing so by the time I get home and cook some tea and collapse in a chair. Even if I had that work to do I’d be too tired to do it, as much as I’d want to.” Sally, retail worker in SA

40 Motivations for training shaped by Work-life context (job, care, household, health...) Life-course stage Regulatory requirements of job Employers attitude to and support for training Previous educational experiences Literacy and numeracy Educational pedagogy and support (pastoral care vital) Potential returns on investment in education – LOW!

41 Learning, ‘good jobs’ and power 40 Kelly, 19, hardware store, timber specialist  ‘I’m not sure if I’m supposed to but… [when] I’ve cleaned everything I’ll just sit down and I’ll just get my product knowledge up there and I’ve done [every possible on-line course]: forklift driving, gardens, barbeques, special orders, tiles, roofing, everything that’s there’.

42 Learning, ‘good jobs’ and power 41  ‘I had a gentleman the other day, wanting some timber cut and I’d only just recently learned how to use the docking saw. And he goes ‘Isn’t there enough males here to do that?’ And I go ‘Well, that’s why I learn, so I can do it’. He goes ‘Oh well, it’s usually the males’. I’m like ‘Well, I’m here. Do you want me to do it or not?’ And I did it and finished it, and it was all done. Sometimes I like getting those customers just so I can stick it to them’.

43 Factors that work against participation In VET:  Fees and costs  Time to travel to VET  Poor quality teaching  Course content that does not relate directly to job  Absence of ‘wrap around’ support (e.g. counselling)  Lack of computer literacy or equipment  Poor literacy or numeracy

44 Factors that work against participation At work:  $ reward for learning (ROR)  Lack of learning opportunities in paid work time  Training not linked to job  Casual or part-time employment  Employers who do not support training  Long working hours  Lack of quiet study space  Lack of access to on-line learning

45 Factors that work against participation At home  Dependent parents/grandparents/other  Dependent children  Long commutes  Slow internet, no internet  Poor transport options  No/poor household technology (e.g. computer)  Unaffordable, inaccessible, low quality care options

46 Factors that work against participation In community:  Community activities that take time  Community that is not supportive of training or advancement  ‘why would you do that?’  Poor technology (e.g. Computer, web, libraries)  Poor transport

47 Factors that work against participation Across domains  Poor spatial alignment of work/family/community and VET  Poor transport options (cost, timing, regularity, no cars)  Limited local educational opportunities (e.g. VET, uni)  Poor local facilities (esp. libraries, education, care)  Poor technology hardware (e.g. computer)  Slow internet, no internet

48 Skill utilisation 30% have skills that exceed those needed in their jobs, esp vocationally qualified (rather than degree) workers  (Linsley 2005; Cully et al 2006, Watson 2008) Why are they underutilised? A problem? For whom? Explained by  life-course stage (older, tired, can indulge interests more)  household situation (need money NOW, can’t shop around for job)  Personal health (burn out, injury)  Don’t want the stress (of management, professional job)  Not right jobs available  Qualifications not recognised (overseas, or manager resists)  Inflexible job conditions (IT example)

49 What to do?

50 Implications for policy & practice 1. More say for workers about their training  Eg ‘learning accounts’ attached to an individual and that are portable between jobs 2. Workplace learning representatives 1. To give voice and ensure greater relevance 3. Community-based resources and support 4. Workplace cultures around training 1. ‘Food x’ and ‘Food y’; ‘Retail x’ and ‘Retail y’ 5. Study leave or ‘education sabbaticals’ 6. Higher, fairer rates of return for skills



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