As the real estate industry experiences what some are calling a recruitment crisis, a new report has discovered access to affordable housing is likely to be a significant barrier to people who are willing to move in order to enter employment.
The Australians for Affordable Housing's Opening Doors to Employment: is housing affordability hindering jobseekers report explores the extent to which housing affordability is likely to affect the ability of jobseekers to access employment.
The research found that housing was unaffordable in all of the 40 regions where they were most likely to find employment, and that the availability of affordable housing was a key factor in assisting jobseekers in gaining employment.
Workers in some occupations, such as carers and aides, sales assistants and salespersons, cleaners and laundry workers, were more likely to need to pay more than half of their income on rent.
Monash and Whittlesea in Victoria and Warringah in New South Wales received the worst ratings for housing affordability.
CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) Dr Cassandra Goldie said she welcomed the release of the report, and hinted at the major reasons business owners in some industries were finding it difficult to recruit staff.
"This report shows that jobseekers cannot live in areas where jobs are available without being in housing stress," she said. "These jobseekers face a Catch 22 – they either live in poverty on low income support payments, or they move to areas with jobs available and live in housing-related poverty.
"It’s time housing cost was recognised as a key barrier for unemployed people finding work, particularly when there are calls for unemployed people to move to areas with available work."
Dr Goldie said the findings of the report echoed those of ACOSS’ recent Community Sector Survey that identified housing as the highest unmet need for clients of community services.
“It is essential that governments commit to policies to increase the supply of affordable housing to ensure that unemployed people can find a pathway into paid work," she said.
"ACOSS supports the recommendations of the report and calls on all parties to commit to some immediate practical measures, such as guaranteeing the future of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), establishing an Affordable Housing Growth Fund and increasing and indexing Commonwealth Rent Assistance to support the most financially vulnerable in the community.”