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Worker rejected from 100 jobs reveals why Australia isn’t ‘land of opportunity’ anymore

Mark feels he has “gone backwards in life”, is barely covering his mortgage repayments and has decided it’s no longer financially feasible to have kids.

A worker who is struggling to cover his mortgage repayments no longer believes Australia is the "land of opportunity" after applying for 100 jobs only to be knocked back each time.

Mark Joseph recently completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) and had hoped the extra training would put him and his partner in a better position.

But after applying for jobs related to his qualifications for the past six months with no luck, they've both realised they might not be able to afford to start a family.

Mark Joseph struggling to find a job
Mark recently completed his MBA and has been struggling to find a job - or even land an interview - for more than six months. (Source: Supplied)

Do you have a story to share? Contact tamika.seeto@yahooinc.com

The 40-year-old previously worked in hospitality management but found himself out of a job when COVID hit and the industry ground to a halt.

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Since then, Mark has taken up jobs in traffic control and construction and now works full-time in a government role in Victoria. But he says he is “severely underemployed” and has been trying to find a new job more aligned with his qualifications in the business field.

“I graduated in December but have been applying since September. I haven’t even got one interview,” Mark told Yahoo Finance.

“I’m finding it really challenging. I actually don’t know where to turn and who to speak to … I can’t even get my foot in the door.”

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Mark - who moved to Australia from Wales more than a decade ago - said he felt like he had “gone backwards in life” and was earning less compared to four years ago when he was in hospitality management (when inflation is taken into account).

“I’m way worse off than I was four years ago. That takes its toll mentally as well,” he said. “How resilient do you need to be and how long do you have to stay the course for things to change? Obviously, there are people in worse positions.”

Mark and his partner have seen their mortgage skyrocket by $1,500 per month due to recent interest rate hikes, and the couple have now decided it's not financially feasible to have kids.

“We can’t go out, we don’t eat out anymore, we don’t go on holidays, we’ve downsized to one car. There’s nothing left,” Mark said.

‘Catch 22’ for jobseekers

Superior People Recruitment founder and director Graham Wynn said this was the most challenging time to find workers he had experienced in his 15 years in business, with unemployment still very low.

“There are far more jobs than job seekers. It’s actually the most difficult time for recruiters and employers to find staff - it’s never been this bad,” Wynn told Yahoo Finance.

“The problem is, because it is so hard to find people, employers are being much pickier than they used to be, knowing they can’t afford to get this wrong. Because if they invest time and money and it doesn’t work out, it’s too hard to go [and] find another person.”

Graham Wynn
Wynn said recruiters are finding it challenging to find candidates for jobs. (Source: Superior People Recruitment)

Wynn said this created a “catch 22” situation for those looking for work and noted he was seeing this trend across all seniority levels.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.1 per cent in January, which is still low by historical standards. The Reserve Bank is currently forecasting it to rise to 4.3 per cent by the end of 2024.

Australia no longer the ‘land of opportunity’

Mark said he was “not ready to give up” and planned to keep applying for jobs. He has sought out several recruiters for help but notes he had been getting conflicting advice from them.

With the job hunt taking a toll on his mental health, Mark is also seeking professional support.

“I’m starting to seek counseling now to try and reframe my headspace because it’s getting to me, it’s really making me question my self worth,” he said. “This whole imposter-syndrome piece kicks in and that gets magnified.”

While he plans to stick at things for the next 12 months, Mark said he was seriously considering moving away from Australia if things didn’t change - potentially to Dubai, in search of more job opportunities.

“I love Australia. I’ve been here 12 years, I consider it home, I’m a citizen,” he said. “I don’t want to uproot but why would I stay to struggle? I feel like this used to be the land of opportunity and it’s certainly not my experience anymore."

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