Research and insights

CoAct is committed to finding new and innovative solutions to help disadvantaged Australians reconnect with employment sooner.

ARC informal networks study

CoAct has been successful in winning a grant through the Australian Research Council (ARC) to undertake a landmark study of how informal and formal networks of unemployed Australians affect their odds of gaining employment.

  • The study is about discovering evidence-based solutions to increase wellbeing and employability among Australia’s unemployed.
  • Researchers are focusing on the long-term unemployed and youth job seekers, two groups that are seen as the most disadvantaged in the Australian labour market.

Partners in innovation

CoAct will work in partnership with researchers from leading universities including the:

  • University of Sydney
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • University of Wollongong

Meet the research team

The research team is led by Associate Professor Gaby Ramia from the University of Sydney’s Graduate School of Government and International Relations. Co-investigators include:

  • Professor Greg Marston – Queensland University of Technology
  • Doctor Roger Patulny – University of Wollongong
  • Doctor Michelle Peterie – University of Sydney

Research that matters

Through a series of surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups that have been conducted with job seekers and employment service providers the research team aim to answer vital questions about Australia’s long-term and youth unemployed, such as:

  • Do job seekers have smaller, weaker and less diverse networks?
  • Do formal networks compensate for the lack of job referrals and help given by the friends, family and social connections of long-term job seekers?
  • How do formal networks compensate for the less effective informal networks of long-term job seekers through support, training and maintaining wellbeing?
  • How do formal networks compensate for, or overcome negative connections and bad role modelling?

Formal and informal networks – what’s the difference?

  • Informal networks refer to the relationships that job seekers have with others, primarily family and friends.
  • Formal networks refer to the relationships that job seekers have with service providers, including employment services.

Making a difference

CoAct aims to make effective use of this research using the findings to help improve its services as well as offer recommendations to government, employers and industry on effective ways to improve the employability of job seekers. For more information or to get involved, get in touch with us today.

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