Wednesday, July 16, 2003

The Job Network fiasco, Tom of Hobart and more

Today’s media reports, of a 27 y.o. male Tasmanian being job-matched to a (probably illegal)* Hobart escort agency, amply shows the piss-weakery of the Opposition.

When combined with last week’s reports of the privatised Job Network’s taxpayer-funded bail-out, one would think that this latest blunder would provide Labor with some opportunities for heavy hitting. Instead, we just get this:

Labor's employment spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said it was inappropriate for the Job Network to be encouraging people to apply for sex work. "The Employment Services Minister must urgently explain why this advertisement has been distributed through the Job Search database and detail exactly how many job seekers it has been sent to," Ms Macklin said.

For a start, Labor stuffed it because the fact of sex worker recruitment ads slipping in to the Job Network system is a thing mainly of novelty news value – in other words, it has probably happened somewhere before, and in any case, no real harm was done. Much more, and better quality mileage could have been got out of Mark Coddington's “job” “match” – a Nigerian (or Nigerian-style) bank account scam.

The most important angle to the Tom of Hobart story, a point which Ms Macklin missed entirely, was that the job-matching system (and therefore, the raft of people and organisations living off it) is a joke. Not because jobs sneak “into” in when they shouldn’t, but simply because it clearly doesn’t remotely do what it is supposed to do – MATCH people to jobs.

No doubt the reason a man was matched to a woman-only job was because the new system doesn’t recognise gender parameters – an improvement in some ways, as the old Centrelink touchscreens regularly ran ads (not for sex work) seeking women only – a blatant breach of anti-discrimination laws, of course. Plainly though, the fact that Tom of Hobart was “matched” to ten jobs, two of which were the escort agency, shows that because the new system has no meaningful parameters whatsoever. From my regular reading of meika’s blog, I know that a Hobartian being served up bona fide ten job vacancies a day is a generous portion indeed – in other words, the system doesn’t match at all; it simply scours for jobs by geographic area, and then dumps the unprocessed data (not even checking for duplicates!) into accounts within that geographic area.

And as to why there hasn’t been many more Toms and Tammies of Hobart (and elsewhere), the answer here underscores the utter uselessness of the new system. After my own May (2003) interview with Sarina Russo, a Job Network provider, I was supposed to be “live” on the new system. Since the dipshit-with-a-pulse Sarina Russo provided me with left me with a bizarre, half-baked CV, I vowed to log on and fix it up as soon as I got home. Which I tried to do, but my log on and/or (provided) password wasn’t recognised.

From previous experience, I know that there is absolutely no point in complaining to Centrelink (and now also, its legion of privatised succubi) when the matter is more one of principle than a direct hip-pocket cost (the anti-discrimination law breaching is a good example). Even though having a ludicrously messy and inadequate CV on the system just might mitigate against me being matched with a suitable, real job one day, my assessment of the odds here is that they are infinitesimal. So my abortion of a CV presumably remains on the system to this day – nice work, Sarina Russo!

And despite what earlier media reports (and today’s Age) said, the new job-matching system does not push-deliver (through email or SMS) ostensible job-matches**. Which means that our Toms of Hobart, bless ‘em, have actually found a way to log onto the system that promised to "open up opportunities which people in the past only dreamt of" (same URL). Indeed.

P.S. As for the Salvos (Tom of Hobart’s Job Network provider) being dismayed by the sex work angle (i) if you don’t vet the listings going into Tom’s online account, what exactly DO you do?; and (ii) (more as a matter of principle) Fuck You, again.

* “While prostitution is legal in Tasmania, brothels are not.”

** At my May interview, Sarina Russo required me to provide either a mobile phone number or an email address, in order to be informed of job matches – I provided an email address. I have since heard nothing from Sarina Russo, via my email address (or any other channel).

Anti-discrimination and job ads Update 17 July 2003

Tonight's "A Current Affair" (Channel 9) had a story on a young woman (~18 y.o.) who had gotten rejected for over 200 jobs (is that all?) getting a makeover, and then, of course, getting a job.

That's the way - never mind training and education; just bring on the mascara. And who said feminism was no longer relevant for today's young women?

The most interesting aspect of the story, though, was that the person responsible for the (advertised) job vacancy said on camera that she was looking for an "an office girl or receptionist".

That's right, before about one million viewers, Australia's anti-discrimination laws are flagrantly flouted. Odds of this being investigated by the applicable anti-discrimination bodies? Zero.

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