THE news headlines focusing on the official unemployment figures which were released yesterday are like the top of a proverbial iceberg. Nowadays, all but the keenest statistical analysts seem to simply shrug at the government count and ask: What about all the underemployment? The 'grey area' appears to reduce the credibility of many reports and of course apart from the overall national figures every area has its own labour market influences. This week, the Fairfax Media network reported authoritative economists estimating that the national unemployment rate would rise to 5.4 per cent from its current level of 5.2 per cent. While most of such attention to the labour market neglects to look past the numbers to the realities, the 'grey area' is not totally ignored.
ROY Morgan Research said 19 per cent of the nation's workforce were underemployed or in part-time jobs in 2012. This reflects across the nation in homes from which the multitude of underemployed wear out their computer keyboards seeking more work. In a family home in Paterson St, Capalaba, Carl Arganda is not even a number for most of the suited analysts on his television screen. Carl, 19, has grown up in the Redlands and graduated from Capalaba State College in 2010. His schoolmates may remember him as the flanker in the college's rugby union team and the second rower in the rugby league. Some of his teachers, however, will recall Carl's passion for figures and can be pleased he is on a mission for a career as an accountant. "I like playing with numbers and that's what I am good at, pretty much," he says.
CARL says he has written between 200 and 300 job applications since early last year, while he studied at Mt Gravatt TAFE for his Certificate IV in Bookkeeping. Casual work as an office assistant and on a Wynnum factory's product packaging, has been paying his bills and running his 1999 Mazda MX-5 coupe, which is one of his main interests. Now with a qualification and after many months of combing the job notices, Carl has tried a new tactic, advertising in The Redland Times' Positions Wanted column: "Junior accountant looking for an office job, preferably an accounting role." After several calls, Carl was optimistic this week that the ad would help him break into his career. "My aim is to get that job and get more experience," he says.
This column appeared in The Redland Times in January 2013.
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