The future of employment services


The Employment Services Expert Advisory Panel’s report I Want to Work: Employment Services 2020 is now available.

The panel’s report highlighted the success of the current employment services, jobactive, in providing 1.2 million job placements since its launch in July 2015. Stakeholders suggested, in moving forward, there were numerous opportunities to enhance employment service delivery by simplification, harnessing the use of digital technology and cutting red tape.


The panel’s report was informed by extensive consultation held across Australia with:

  • employers
  • providers (training, education and employment)
  • job seekers
  • community organisations (including housing, health and welfare)
  • unions
  • think tanks/academia
  • industry
  • other governments (state and local).

During the consultation period:

  • more than 560 people attended 23 roundtables and community forums held in metropolitan and regional centres
  • 556 people participated in design research workshops, focus groups or one-on-one interviews
  • 450 submissions were received in response to the public consultation paper ‘The Next Generation of Employment Services 2020’

Feedback received

A summary of stakeholder feedback is available in The Nous Group Report, 'Employment Services 2020: Consultation report'.

A summary of responses to the public discussion paper is also available and can be found in The Social Research Centre Report, 'The Next Generation of Employment Services: summary of consultation responses'.

More information on our User Centred Design activities can be found below.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the consultations or provided a submission on the Public Discussion Paper. Your feedback and input will help to shape the future of employment services in Australia.

Next Steps

The Australian Government will now consider the panel’s report and findings.

The department will further engage with stakeholders about the panel’s report recommendations, including considering insights gained from the Online Employment Services Trial.

Trialling digital solutions

The Online Employment Services Trial will assess how best to deliver digital solutions to job seekers which will save them time, customise their approach and cut red tape.

How the trial works

The trial includes testing a digital platform that allows job seekers to find work through self-servicing options. It will also explore the implementation of online compliance/mutual obligation requirements.


New job seekers, not in need of specialised assistance, can participate in the trial. If they haven’t secured employment within six months of starting the trial, they will be transferred to jobactive provider for further assistance.

As at 11 December 2018, around 3300 job seekers had participated in the trial.

Public Discussion Paper

The Department of Jobs and Small Business released ‘The Next Generation of Employment Services: Discussion Paper’ in June 2018. The paper was informed by the Employment Services Expert Advisory Panel, national and international research, and intensive co-design with stakeholders including job seekers, employers, and employment service providers.

You can view the 296 published submissions at Future of Employment Services Consultation Published Responses.

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

Committed to User Centred Design

The department collaborated with user-centred design experts, ThinkPlace, to consult with stakeholders of the employment services system.

The information gained from this research was provided to the panel for their consideration. Panel members also participated as observers during the research to hear first-hand from job seekers and other stakeholders.

What we heard

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."

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."

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.

Employment Services Expert Advisory Panel

The Government appointed an independent Expert Advisory Panel (‘the panel’) in January 2018 to help shape the future design of employment services in Australia. The panel was chaired by Mrs Sandra McPhee AM. The panel submitted its report about the future of employment services to Government for consideration on 15 October 2018.

View the Employment Services Expert Advisory Panel Terms of Reference.

Members of the panel included employer, provider, and welfare group 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

More information

Updates on the progress of the development of the future of employment services 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