Woman shares nightmare post-COVID job search tale

THE NUMBER of people applying for jobs across the country is going up but employers in the Mackay region say they are struggling to fill vacancies.

Data from digital employment platform SEEK shows candidate applications were 9.7 per cent higher in the past two weeks compared to pre-coronavirus levels in February.

The site's managing director Kendra Banks said it had experienced increased visitation and activity in the same time frame.

Businesses owners have pointed the finger at the JobSeeker payment saying the boosted rate was counteractive and pushed people to stay on the payment because it paid more than a casual job.

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One employer, who asked he not be named, said the circumstances were dire.

"We listed two jobs in the past month and received six applicants that had absolutely no relatable skills and one applicant that had minimal relatable skills," he said.

"I've never been in a place so bad for employment applications."

Three small businesses contacted Dawson MP George Christensen last week saying they faced a similar dilemma.

"They've come to me to tell me they actually want the JobSeeker boost ended because it is making life very difficult to try find workers,' he said.

Businesses have contacted Dawson MP George Christensen asking for the JobSeeker payment to be lowered. Picture: Melanie Whiting
Businesses have contacted Dawson MP George Christensen asking for the JobSeeker payment to be lowered. Picture: Melanie Whiting

Mr Christensen said the problem appeared to be isolated to the region's hospitality industry.

People on the other side of the equation see things differently and say they want to work, but cannot even get a foot in the door.

Anecdotally, people looking for work told the Daily Mercury they were struggling in the current job market.

One woman said there was limited opportunity for mature age people looking for work and most of her applications did not get a response.

Job seeker Chloe Pauling said she moved to Mackay in January and has been unable to find work despite five years experience working in retail and hospitality as well as a year as a receptionist.

"I can't even get an interview," she said.

"When you try to go in person to offer them your resume they turn you down and tell you sorry you need to apply online."


A MACKAY woman who found herself out of work and struggling to make ends meet says employers are not hiring good candidates because of "absurd" experience requirements.

She said she went to an interview where the employer spent more time watching football than asking questions and even received an email accidentally sent to her from a Mackay gym slamming her application for saying she was happy to take any job at all and work in any role they had.

Sheldyn Devecchi lost her full-time administration job at the end of April when the company she worked for had a decline in work.

Ms Devecchi said she understood why she was let go and her boss told her they would reach out when thing picked up again.

Despite applying twice, Ms Devecchi said her JobSeeker application was rejected and she was never told why.

"There was a lot of crying … it was terrible not knowing if you're not going to have an income anymore," she said.

"We managed to just pause our home and car loans but we were not eating properly.

"It was cheaper to go buy bulk spaghetti and pasta and rice and not eat vegetables."

After a month applying for jobs, Ms Devecchi landed a part-time position with a home loan company.

Rather than being unemployed, she found herself underemployed and was still struggling to make ends meet.

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To cover the bills Ms Devecchi withdrew $7000 from her super as part of the early access scheme and her partner took on extra work.

"It is the only thing that has kept us going," she said.

"I've used all my super because I didn't have much there in the first place."

Ms Devecchi said she thought there was a disconnect between the group of people desperately looking for work and the people hiring.

"I've applied for so many jobs … both in retail and bar work," she said.

"Nobody is hiring or they just have these absurd experience requirements and people are not fitting the criteria.

"I feel like (employer's) expectations are above and beyond.

"If they want people unfortunately they are going to need to train them … and have to spend that extra time."