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40 job applications a month? There's an app for that

Date

Sylvia Pennington

David Lumley says his system will help job seekers concentrate on the four applications a month that matter.

David Lumley says his system will help job seekers concentrate on the four applications a month that matter. Photo: Supplied

Even before the government considers dropping its plans, out-of-work Australians worried about the prospect of having to apply for 40 jobs a month to keep their unemployment benefits can breathe a little easier as software developers race to build apps to automate the process.

Earlier this month Adelaide programmer Bill Malkin launched a Pozible crowdfunding proposal to raise $30,000 for SpamBludger, a web-based system to enable applicants to fire off applications with a few clicks and copy in the architect of the new regime, Employment Minister Eric Abetz.

But Brisbane web designer David Lumley may beat Mr Malkin to the punch, with 36 Jobs a Month, a similar application he said would be ready to roll this weekend.

An early screenshot of 36jobsamonth.

An early screenshot of 36jobsamonth. Photo: Supplied

Both initiatives come in response to draft unemployment and welfare changes scheduled to start next July, which will require the unemployed to apply for 40 jobs a month, in order to receive the dole. 

Mr Lumley, who works for a Brisbane IT start-up, said job seekers would be able to use his free system to create a basic resume which can be fired off automatically in response to job ads, along with a generic email.

The program will perform key word searches of Seek and Twitter and present each subscriber with a list of relevant vacant jobs at the start of each month.

Applications will be sent from the subscriber's email address and can be staggered across the month, to prevent the impression that a program has been used when records are provided to Centrelink as proof of activity.

Mr Lumley said his service was developed as a result of fellow feeling for the unemployed, of whom he was one, briefly, after being laid off two years ago.

His aim is not to help job seekers rort the system but to provide them with the time needed to focus on the few jobs a month - he estimates four - they really want and are suited for, while still complying with Centrelink obligations.

"I don't think job seekers are lazy - I've been retrenched before," he said. "You do want to find a job. The norm is to want to work and contribute something.

"Getting a job is lots of work, spending time training and up-skilling … you can't do that if you're spending time applying for a lot of jobs. I don't know if it's reasonable."

Making a political point or spamming people is not his game, he hastened to add.

"The idea is it makes it easier for job seekers. You can spend the rest of the month doing the other four [job applications], the ones you really want."

While programmers work on software to combat the 40 jobs rule, how the government's own systems will be modified to deal with the administrative burden it is likely to create remains to be seen.

A spokesperson for the Department of Employment said the agency would make system changes to help job seekers record their applications and allow employment providers to view information about job applications.

Online applications, correspondence with employers, and details of interviews and contacts would be accepted as evidence a job seeker had applied for 40 jobs, the spokesperson said.

IBRS analyst Alan Hansell said until the Department of Employment had developed programming specifications, it would remain unclear what changes were required to Centrelink systems.

"They will need to create bi-directional linkage to Centrelink to determine eligibility for and paying of benefits," Mr Hansell said.

How well the agency's 31-year-old mainframe will cope is open to question.

The Commission of Audit report handed down earlier this year recommended a complete overhaul, at a projected cost of up to $1.5 billion, but this year's federal budget included no upgrade funding.

Centrelink makes more than $400 million in payments each day to individuals.

A spokesman for the Department of Human Services said the agency could not comment on how the policy would be implemented, as legislation was yet to pass.

On Thursday the minister told ABC Radio the government had concerns over the extra pressure the requirement might place on small businesses.

Earlier this month Public Service Minister Eric Abetz came under fire for letting thousands of would-be government department recruits languish in uneployment since May, as departments wait for his go-ahead to make new hires.

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23 comments so far

  • I nominate David Lumley for Australian of the Year. Hilarious that a 19 year old tech-whizz could call the dinosaur Minister's bluff on the job applications plan. The plan, as absurd as it is patronizing and morally-controlling, is perfectly met with a cynical one-click up-yours to the Minister. And copying him in is just sweet. Go Lumley.

    Commenter
    RosieNottheCat
    Date and time
    August 29, 2014, 10:04AM
    • Ha ha ha I couldn't have put it better myself!

      Commenter
      Gary Diamond
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      September 01, 2014, 1:28PM
  • "and copy in the architect of the new regime, Employment Minister Eric Abetz."

    I love it! As one who will be on the receiving end of emails, asking for jobs not really wanted - I am pleased about this function of the software.

    I hope I can copy in my reply to the Employment Minister too.

    Commenter
    E10
    Date and time
    August 29, 2014, 10:32AM
    • If only they had an employer equivelent app which enabled all applications through this system to be identifed as a base screening activity it would weed out the ones who aren't qualified or aren't interested with a standard rejection letter and the employer would only need to look at the relevant apps.
      Maybe that's stage two of the app development

      Commenter
      Jess
      Location
      here
      Date and time
      September 01, 2014, 11:39AM
  • As an small business owner and employer when I advertise I want to find properly qualified people for the job I don't have time to play the employment ministers silly games.

    Commenter
    Andre
    Date and time
    August 29, 2014, 11:37AM
    • I don't think forty jobs a month is realistic but maybe 25. That 25 must be done in person with a company stamp or letter required to say that the applicant did actually apply for a job, was neatly dressed and presentable and whether or not the applicant was offered a job. Any person applying using an App would not be given that authority and therefore fail in their duty to apply for the jobs required and lose any Government assistance for 6 months.
      Anyone can sit on their behind a push a button without actually applying for that job as it would interfere with the life they have become used to, living off the Tax Payer.
      I was an employer and I expected applicants to present themselves at my office with a resume and be able to read and write sufficiently to read safety signs. Unfortunately the education levels left a lot to be desired and the vast majority had trouble filling in the simple forms that I required. If they had just applied using an App they wouldn't even have been seen and there names passed to Centrelink for investigation for not actually looking for work.

      Commenter
      thatmosis
      Location
      Isis central
      Date and time
      August 29, 2014, 1:49PM
      • So you think that people don't want to work thatmosis? With an unemployment rate of 6%, there will not be jobs for 6% of the workforce, despite your best efforts mosis. So cut your diatribe and show some compassion and creative contribution. Perhaps spend some of your 'hard earned winnings' so that others may be employed.

        Commenter
        OpenWindow
        Date and time
        August 29, 2014, 9:57PM
      • I doubt companies would want that burden. The government once had the CES to provide jobs. The govetnment has failed to manage the economy to provide jobs. So the government blames the unemployed. Perhaps the Minister should be writing to 40 long term unemployed daily and offering a full time jobs at average weekly pay.

        Commenter
        blame the govt.
        Date and time
        August 30, 2014, 12:35AM
      • The facts say it all. Abbott's policies are more about skewed ideology than sound economic management.

        750,000 unemployed x 40 required application per month
        That's 30,000,000 applications
        500,000 jobs advertised in Aug

        29,500,000 unnecessary application impacting Australian businesses each month for jobs that don't exist. If businesses were to attempt to process these applications in any way even if that involved nothing more than an email "thank you" then we are talking about a significant impact in workload.

        The notion of full employment (zero unemployment) is a fallacy. A rate of 3.5% unemployment is considered healthy for a capitalist economy such as Australia's
        Unemployment in Australia is presently near 6.4% though REAL unemployment is much higher when one considers rapidly rising under-employment: Where an individual looses full-time job (35hrs/w) and can only find part-time or casual work. Quoted employment figures can be misleading when the ABS's definition of "employed" can include as little as 1hrs work in a week.

        Commenter
        HappyB
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        August 30, 2014, 12:17PM
      • Good point. I have wondered if these people are not working and not looking for work, what do they do all day ?

        Commenter
        Nicks
        Location
        Greenfields
        Date and time
        August 30, 2014, 12:50PM

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