Women’s job opportunities in the spotlight at Albanese summit

Ensuring equal opportunities and pay for women is one of the many topics discussed at the federal government’s jobs summit, which will take place on 1 and 2 September.

Around 100 guests will come from business, labor, civil society groups and other levels of government. The summit was flagged by Anthony Albanese on the campaign trail, and he and Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced the details on Monday.

It is modeled after the 1983 Hawke Economic Summit, although it will only last half of its duration.

Some of the summit outcomes could be implemented in the October budget.

Individual ministers will lead work in particular areas.

Women’s Minister Katy Gallagher will coordinate work on the women’s labor market. Employment Minister Tony Burke will lead the area of ​​job security and wages.

Other areas will be led by Home Secretary Clare O’Neil (migration); Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth (labour market participation and barriers to employment); Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor (Skills and Training); and Minister of Industry Ed Husic (renewable energy, digital and manufacturing).

In addition to women’s employment, the themes of the summit include

  • keep unemployment low and boost productivity and incomes

  • promote secure, well-paying jobs and strong and sustainable wage growth

  • expand employment opportunities, including for the most disadvantaged

  • address skills shortages and find the right mix of skills

  • improved migration settings

  • maximizing renewable energy jobs and opportunities, tackling climate change, the digital economy, the care economy and a “Future Made in Australia”.

A jobs white paper will be produced following the summit, led by the Treasury. It will be informed by the outcomes of the summit, but there will also be a call for public submissions and community consultations. The white paper would be completed in about a year.

Albanese told a news conference there was “a lot of goodwill and real enthusiasm” from business groups and ACTU to make the summit a success.

“I’ve said before that people are tired of conflict. People want fewer arguments and they want more solutions. My Government is determined to achieve this.

Chalmers said the challenges in the economy were “thick on the ground, but so are the opportunities.” The summit aimed to “pluck the brains of people around Australia”.

He said the government has changed hands at a time of rising inflation, falling real wages, labor shortages and attendant challenges.

“We owe it to the people of Australia to try to find that common ground so that we can achieve common goals together. That’s what the summit will be about.

“Our goal is to build a better educated workforce, to raise incomes and living standards, and to try to create more opportunities for more people in more parts of Australia.”

Invitations will be sent around the beginning of August and discussion papers will be published.

The Business Council of Australia said it was “a chance to seize the opportunity and end the impasse over labor relations, restore the Hawke-Keating corporate bargaining system to increase productivity and allow Australians to earn more”.

“And we need a migration system that fills labor shortages in the economy with the right targeting and the right incentives.”

The ACTU said the summit was “an opportunity to fix an underfunded and neglected skills sector, to ensure that migration provides opportunity rather than exploitation and to address a broken bargaining system that failed to deliver wage growth for nearly a decade and inflicted real wage cuts on workers during a cost of living crisis”.

Meanwhile, the Melbourne Institute’s report Taking the Pulse of the Nation, released on Monday, found a significant difference between employers and employees when it came to working from home, as well as a gender difference among workers.

“More than a third of workers would like to spend more time working from home than their employer would allow,” the survey found.

“Women are 25% more likely than men (8 percentage point difference) to want to spend more time working from home than their employer would allow.

“It’s not because women are more likely to be caregivers. A 7 percentage point gender gap persists even after taking into account having children in the household.”

The research was carried out by Roy Morgan.