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Union warns against offshort jobs drift

By Stephen Lacey

Up to 85,000 Australian jobs could be lost in the next five years, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) says. The union says the government needs to do more to protect local workers, as large defence and resource projects rely more heavily on overseas-based skills and products.

According to the AMWU, at least 125,000 manufacturing jobs have already been lost since the start of the global financial crisis, and it puts those losses down to a growing reliance on looking offshore when it comes to major projects.

The national secretary of the AMWU, Paul Bastian, says it is time for state and federal governments to act to ensure Australians' vital skills are not lost.

"To lose another 10 per cent of our manufacturing capacity is something that we should not allow to occur, and we should do everything we can as a country to ensure that we have a strong manufacturing base," he says.

Earning by degrees

While it may be tempting to turn on, tune in and drop out, a new report shows those who stay at university are more likely to be the biggest earners. In fact, those with a postgraduate degree will earn almost double ($3.2 million over their working lives) that of people with a year 11 or lower qualification ($1.7 million).

However, the report, compiled by AMP.NATSEM, also reveals that women still make less money than men with the same university qualifications. A 25-year-old woman with a postgraduate degree can expect to earn just two-thirds of a male counterpart's income in her lifetime.

Cutting by degrees

Of course, finding somebody to help you attain that much-needed degree (see above) could be problematic, following the federal government's midyear budget cuts to universities of more than $1 billion.

The deputy vice-chancellor of research at Melbourne University, Jim McCluskey, says his university will lose between $90 million and $100 million over four years. He says this means that plans to employ about 200 extra people will have to be abandoned.

"Victoria is a very research-intensive state," he says. "We are disproportionately hit."

A little to the left ...

Have you had an employee request a rub-down lately? According to the SuccessFactors 2012 HR Beat Survey, such a request is not unusual.

In fact, the survey found that Australian employees were some of the most demanding in the world, requesting not only higher salaries but also flexible working hours and locations, extended leave of absence and, yes, massages.

Published: 27 October 2012

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