The future of employment services


Thank you to everyone who participated in the consultations or provided a submission on the Public Discussion Paper. The Department and Expert Advisory Panel (the Panel) are pleased to have received over 450 submissions and welcomed over 500 attendees to consultation events across Australia. The feedback and input received will help to shape the future of employment services.

Public Discussion Paper

The Department released ‘The Next Generation of Employment Services: Discussion Paper’ in June 2018.

The options discussed in this paper have been informed by the Employment Services Expert Advisory Panel (further information below), national and international research, and intensive co-design with users including job seekers, employers, and employment service providers.

Discussion Paper: the next generation of Employment Services 2020 - Discussion Paper
Discussion Paper: the next generation of Employment Services 2020 - Appendices


The Department was pleased to see submissions from a broad range of stakeholders with an interest in the future of employment services. Stakeholder groups included employment service providers, job seekers, employers and community sector organisations.

You can view the 295 submissions that have agreed to publication:

Future of Employment Services Consultation Published Responses

An overview of the feedback received will be available in the coming weeks.

Next Steps: The feedback received has now been formalised and reported to the Panel for its consideration.

The Panel will now consider all the feedback and make its recommendations to Government. Many of the comments collected through the consultation have been used to inform the Panel (see below) on the next stages of design for a new model.

This conclusion of consultations does not mean the end of the conversation. The Department will continue to provide updates, news and upcoming events on this webpage as the project progresses.

Committed to User Centred Design

The Department is collaborating with user-centred design experts, ThinkPlace, to consult with the system users including job seekers, employers, and existing service providers. This is being done through a series of fieldwork where Department staff and ThinkPlace experts meet directly with users in their homes, communities and businesses.

This work has been helping to inform the design for a future model by better understanding the needs of users and testing possible approaches with them. This information is provided to the Panel to help inform their deliberations, and has been reflected in the Public Discussion Paper. Panel members have also participated as observers in the field to hear first-hand from job seekers and other users.

Job seekers told us they really wanted reciprocity and transparency in the relationship with their provider, right from the start, and to be able to connect with specialised services that are tailored to their circumstances.

"I am happy to share information, even personal, if it helps me get a job.” Job seeker

Employers want to have a simple and effective system that delivers high quality, motivated candidates.

“Getting a lot of résumés is one thing, but getting a lot of good résumés is another thing”… Employer

Providers want time to respond to changes, to train staff and make changes to their business processes and systems.

“I need time to go out and do reverse marketing, on site face to face.” – Provider

The Department and ThinkPlace are handling participants’ feedback and data carefully, consistent with the Privacy Act 1988. The work has been approved by the Australian National University Ethics Board.

Why are employment services changing?

The work reflects that Australia’s economy, workplaces and jobs are being transformed by technology, and employment services need to adapt to respond to these changes and the work of the future.

This presents an opportunity to consider factors in providing services beyond 2020, including:

  • advancements in technology and how these may be harnessed to better deliver employment services;
  • new thinking on how to support Australians find work, particularly disadvantaged job seekers; and
  • supporting businesses to meet their staffing needs now and into the future.

Employment Services Expert Advisory Panel

The Government appointed an Expert Advisory Panel ('the Panel') in January 2018 to help shape the design of future employment services. The Panel is independently chaired by Ms Sandra McPhee AM.

Members of the panel are from a range of fields and have broad experiences and expertise. This includes employer, provider and welfare groups' representatives, as well as a labour market economist and an expert in business transformation. The list of members is below:

List of members

Name Position Organisation
Sandra McPhee AM - Chair Non-Executive Director St. Vincent’s Health Australia
Caryn Katsikogianis Chief People Officer Woolworths Group
Peter Davidson Senior Adviser Australian Council of Social Services
Chris Blake Executive General Manager, Group Services Australia Post
Prof. Jeff Borland Truby Williams Professor of Economics University of Melbourne
Nick Debere Interim CEO Jobs Australia
Sally Sinclair CEO National Employment Services Association
Allan McCallum Chairman Tassal
Wally Tallis Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer Indigenous Business Australia
Matt O’Sullivan Employment and Workforce Development Specialist
Dr Susan Neuhaus CSC President Minda Inc
Robert Pennicott Managing Director Pennicott Wilderness Journeys
Karen Sheldon AM Managing Director Karen Sheldon Catering
Jenny Lambert Director, Employment Education and Training Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Kate Carnell AO Ombudsman Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
Martin Hehir Deputy Secretary Department of Jobs and Small Business

The Panel operates with assistance and secretariat support provided by the Department.

Current employment services

Employment services delivered under jobactive are achieving positive outcomes for job seekers. The jobactive arrangements will continue to provide employment services until the contract ends in mid-2020 and new arrangements are phased in.

Online Employment Services Trial

Consistent with the Government’s digital transformation agenda, the Department of Jobs and Small Business is trialling digital solutions to better support people looking for work. The Online Employment Services Trial has started involving around 5,000, job-ready people, per year for two years (total 10,000).

The Trial tests a platform that enables people to take personal responsibility for finding work, test whether they can self-service effectively using online services, and test the effectiveness of online monitoring of mutual obligation requirements and compliance systems.

Participation in the Trial draws from new job seekers registering for employment services. Those not in need of specialised assistance may be selected for the Trial. Job seekers will participate in the Trial for up to six months before being transferred to a jobactive provider if they haven’t found a job in that time.

Job seekers in need of specialised assistance will continue to receive face-to-face servicing from employment providers. The Government recognises that face-to-face servicing is a critical component of any employment services model and this will continue in any future system.

More information

Updates on the progress of the development of the new arrangements will be provided on this page.

Visit the jobactive site for details on current employment services.

If you wish to provide further feedback or make an enquiry about the future of employment services please contact us at