What to do if your job search is taking longer than you expected

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Finding a job can take longer than you would like for many reasons and take a significant mental and emotional toll. So, what can you do when your job search just keeps on going?

On average, it takes Australians almost three months to find a new job. Given this is an average, it also means many people search for longer than this.

If you’re someone who’s been job searching and applying for what feels like too long, here are our top tips on persevering during what can be a difficult time:

1. Speak to a mentor or trusted friend about your approach

Often an extended job search happens for a range of reasons  – the current prospects for that sector or industry, the number of people with your qualifications who are searching, or simply the number of people applying for the same roles as you.

It can be easy to get caught on trying to figure out the reasons your job search isn’t succeeding. If the reasons are within your control, it can be helpful to examine them, but often they are well outside your sphere of influence. So, if you’re falling into the trap of blaming yourself, speaking to someone you trust for a different perspective can help break a negative and unhelpful cycle.

At the very least, ask someone you trust to read through your CV and anything you’re sending to employers, like your cover letter and responses to key selection criteria. if you’re not getting interviews, you may be making some mistakes in how you’ve been presenting yourself that you haven’t noticed before.

2. Take a break

It can be easy to feel a constant need to keep searching. Remember that even though you aren’t employed, job searching is a form of work; it’s taxing, and sometimes you need a break.

Unplug from your devices for a while or unsubscribe from your job alerts  temporarily. Signing up to alerts about new jobs can be helpful in finding available roles, but it can also become overwhelming. Getting a notification every day encouraging you to look at a potential employment opportunity fuels your search – but when you’re fatigued, it can be draining and potentially upsetting.

It is okay to take  a day, or a week, of rest.

3. Learn something new – either professionally, or personally

Unemployment can be a time to upskill, but it can be equally useful to learn new things that aren’t related to work – picking up a new hobby, or learning about something you’ve always been interested in. It’s a great way to protect and boost your mental health and brain function.

If you have time, volunteering can be a great way to make connections and learn new things.

Rebecca McDonaldCEO and Founder of Australian literacy organisation Library for All, says

“There’s nothing like volunteering to demonstrate your ability to learn new skills, contribute value and get some great experience along the way. Once you’re on the inside, network and keep your ear open for opportunities that are coming up.”

4. Attend an event, even if it’s a virtual one

Even if you hate networking, attending an event can be a great way to gather inspiration and energy, especially if you’re feeling down about your industry or your job type. You can find events on Eventbrite, or Humanitix, or through industry associations or umbrella bodies.

Even if an event is taking place virtually, hearing ideas from people in your field may spark some reflection, or motivation to redouble your efforts to get a foot in the door at your next employer.

5. Remember that the length of your search doesn’t reflect your professional value

Taking pride in your accomplishments and the value you have to offer is a key step to succeeding in finding a job. We recently interviewed Diana Khamon, who lost her job during the pandemic, but went on to find her dream job as Philanthropy Manager at St Kilda Mums. She shared this advice for jobseekers who are stuggling with rejection:

Don’t lose hope when you’ve had rejections as your dream job could be around the corner! Every time I was being rejected from something I thought was good for my career, I was actually being redirected to somewhere better. Have self-confidence and apply for roles which attract and challenge you – you’ve got this!”

Brisbane New Labour Hire licensing regulations

The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (LHL Act) and the accompanying Regulation will commence on 16 April 2018. The LHL Act establishes mandatory labour hire licensing which requires:

  • labour hire agencies in Brisbane to be licensed to operate in  Queensland
  • persons who engage Brisbanes labour hire agencies to only engage licensed providers
  • labour hire licensees to satisfy a fit and proper person test to establish that they are appropriate persons to provide labour hire services
  • labour hire agencies in Brisbane to comply with all relevant laws
  • the labour hire business to be financially viable (i.e. be able to pay workers promptly and also meet its other obligations (e.g. taxation, superannuation, WorkCover, etc.))
  • licensees to report on their activities six monthly
  • there to be penalties for breach of obligations, and
  • the establishment of the Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit within the Office of Industrial Relations with inspectors responsible for monitoring and enforcement activities.

Existing labour hire Agencies have until 15 June 2018 to apply for a licence. Those providers can continue to operate after 15 June 2018 while their application is being assessed. After 16 April 2018, any new labour hire business must have a licence before it commences operation.

Information on the LHL Act and scheme will be available on the Labour Hire Licensing Queensland website. The website will be supported by a help desk call centre which can be contacted on 1300 576 088. The website and contact centre will be available from 16 April 2018. The licence application will also be made through this website.

The website will have:

  • a register of Brisbane’s licensed labour hire agencies
  • avenues to report problems and contact the Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit
  • resources such as application guidance material, examples of labour hire arrangements and industry fact sheets, and
  • other information for labour hire agencies, workers and users of labour hire.

The LHL Act covers the labour hire industry. It does not apply to genuine subcontracting arrangements or recruitment and permanent employee placement services (where a recruitment agency supplies the worker whom the end user employs and pays directly). The Act has a specific provision that a building contractor is not a labour hire provider merely because they enter into a contract to carry out construction or building work (section 7(3)(b)). Also, volunteering and student placements are not labour hire arrangements. In addition to the Act, the Labour Hire Licensing Regulation (the Regulation) provides further clarification to ensure that the Act does not capture unintended classes of workers. These are:

  • genuine secondments
  • workplace consulting
  • a high-income worker (defined using the Fair Work Act, i.e. an employee earning over $142k per annum and not covered by an industrial instrument)
  • a worker who is also the director, partner or owner of the business supplying to themselves
  • an in-house employee who is temporarily supplied to another person. An in-house employee is defined as an individual who:
    1. is engaged as an employee by the provider on a regular and systematic basis; and
    2. has a reasonable expectation the employment with the provider will continue; and
    3. primarily performs work for the provider other than as a worker supplied to another person to do work for the other person.
  • employees working for an employing entity used wholly within a single recognisable business. This means an individual who a provider supplies to another person to do work if the provider and the other person are each part of an entity or group of entities that carry on business collectively as one recognisable business (a person includes a company or other employing entity).

The Regulation also provides:

  • what an applicant’s declaration of financial viability means for the LHL Act and examples of the types of financial documents an applicant must nominate to be able to make this declaration
  • details about how compliance with specified work health and safety, fair work, migration, anti-discrimination, transport and accommodation laws will be demonstrated
  • details that the Chief Executive must have regard to when considering if a person is fit and proper to be a provider of labour hire services
  • further details about what a licensee must report on, including specific details about accommodation, transport and services used by labour hire workers, and
  • renewal, restoration, and application fee tiers and amounts.

The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (Qld) (‘the Act’), which was passed in late 2017, came into effect in April this year. The Act imposes strict licensing requirements on various parties to labour hire services in Queensland. According to Labour Hire Licensing Queensland, ‘the scheme aims to protect labour hire workers from exploitation, and ensure rights are upheld.’

Labour hire providers; or those parties who provide labour hire services to other parties, are subject to a mandatory licensing scheme and face severe penalties under the new legislation for non-compliance.Labour hire users; or those parties who contract, employ or otherwise use labour hire services, are subject to strict obligations under the Act.


The scope of the definition provided under the Act is intentionally broad:

‘A person (a provider) provides labour hire services if, in the course of carrying on business, the person supplies, to another person, a worker to do work.’

This realistically captures a vast number of varying service agreements. The Act includes examples of labour hire service scenarios such as; a contractor who supplies fruit pickers to a farm, an employment agency who on-hires administration staff for external offices, and a group training organisation that supplies apprentices to employers. It is important to note that there are some exceptions that apply when the labour is carried out within the meaning of the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld). These scenarios should be approached on a case-by-case basis.


The Act sets out a number of contracting and employment arrangements that constitute the provision of labour hire services. At section 7(2), the Act states that a provider provides labour hire services regardless of –

(a)      whether or not the worker is an employee of the provider; and

(b)     whether or not a contract is entered into between the worker and the provider, or between the provider and the person to whom the worker is supplied; and

(c)      whether the worker is supplied by the provider to another person directly or indirectly through 1 or more agents or intermediaries; and

(d)      whether the work done by the worker is under the control of the provider, the person to whom the worker is supplied or another person.

As illustrated by these examples, there are a multitude of differing labour arrangements that may fall within one of the abovementioned categories. Note that there is a legislated exception for genuine subcontracting arrangements. It is important to ascertain whether you may be classified under the Act as a labour hire provider – if you are found to by Labour Hire Licensing Queensland, and you cannot demonstrate compliance with the Act – you may face penalties of up to $391,650.00 for a corporation, and $134,988, or three years imprisonment for an individual.


A labour hire user is any person who enters into an arrangement with a labour hire provider for the provision of labour hire services. Whilst labour hire users are not required to hold licences under the Act, they are subject to strict obligations, and severe penalties in the event of non-compliance. Labour hire users must not enter into avoidance arrangements (agreements designed to circumvent the obligations of parties under the Act), must only use licenced labour hire providers, may have their workplaces inspected and should report providers that do not comply with their obligations. The penalties for non-compliant labour hire users are identical to the penalties for non-compliant labour hire providers.


Applications for labour hire licences can be submitted online through the Labour Hire Licensing Queensland website. Application fees apply, and labour hire providers must not provide labour hire services until the licence has been officially granted. A decision will be made within 28 business days of the submission of an application for a licence.

The assessment process will consider various factors relating to an applicant’s eligibility, including whether they are a fit and proper person, whether the purpose of the licence is financially viable, and whether the applicant has a demonstrable history of compliance with similar laws.

The application fee schedule is as follows:

Total amount of wages paid in the financial year preceding the day the application is made Tier Licence fee as at
1 July 2018
$1.5 million or less 1 $1,000
$1.5 million and up to $5 million 2 $3,000
Over $5 million 3 $5,000

With risks of severe pecuniary penalties and imprisonment for non-compliance, it is critical that labour hire providers and users recognise their role under the Act and comply with the regulations accordingly.

This article is intended to provide a brief overview of a developing area of the law. For more information on labour hire licensing, or legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances and concerns, please contact ABKJ Lawyers on (07) 5532 3199.

OnTalent is proud to announce that we have received our Labour Hire Licence and are officially a Registered Labour Hire Provider.

From the 16th of April this year, Labour Hire service providers in Queensland are required to be licensed by the state.

The main purposes of the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 and accompanying Regulation are to protect workers from exploitation by providers of labour hire services; and to promote the integrity of the Labour Hire industry. As active corporate members of the Recruitment Consulting Services Association, we at OnTalent champion this on a daily basis and we have already commenced the license application process, which includes the following:

  • Labour Hire licensees are to satisfy a fit and proper person test to establish that they are appropriate persons are to provide labour hire services
  • Labour Hire providers are to comply with all relevant laws
  • The Labour Hire business to be financially viable (i.e. be able to pay workers promptly and also meet its other obligations (e.g. taxation, superannuation, WorkCover, etc.)
  • Licensees are to report on their activities every six months
  • There will be penalties for breach of obligations
  • The establishment of the Labour Hire Licensing Compliance Unit within the Office of Industrial Relations with inspectors responsible for monitoring and enforcement activities

The Regulation does clarify several classes of worker that are excluded from the Act, including:

  • genuine secondments;
  • workplace consulting;
  • a high-income worker (an employee currently earning over $142,000 per annum and not covered by a state award, a modern award or an enterprise agreement)

As a result of this Act and Regulation, as an employer of Labour Hire workers (including temporary and contract workers), you must now use a licensed provider. All existing providers may continue to operate until the 15th of June 2018 while their application is being assessed. If you’re unsure whether your provider is licensed or currently applying, it’s best to ask the question.

OnTalent has already submitted our license application and over the next few weeks, we will be helping to educate our candidate base on these new legislative changes to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. If you’re looking to engage Labour Hire workers, get in touch with Queensland’s contingent workforce leader.


Brisbane City Council’s $44 million recruitment bill

Brisbane City Council spent more than $44 million on recruitment and labour hire agency contracts across one year, new figures reveal.

The LNP administration released the figures in response to a question on notice from the Labor opposition.

Brisbane City Council spent more than $44 million on professional services contracts with recruitment and labour hire companies in 2017-2018.
Brisbane City Council spent more than $44 million on professional services contracts with recruitment and labour hire companies in 2017-2018.CREDIT:DARREN ENGLAND/AAP

The question asked for a list of all companies that provided professional services to the council during the 2017-2018 financial year and the total value of contracts with each company.

Recruitment companies topped the list, the top three highest contracts being with job agencies.

The council spent an average of $858,311 per week on more than 25 contracts with recruitment companies and agencies over the 2017-2018 financial year.

Eleven of those contracts were between $1 million and $8 million.

The three most expensive contracts were with international recruitment company Hays and Peoplebank Australia, both of which had contracts with the council at $8.6 million.

BCC had more than 8000 full-time equivalent employees in 2017-2018 and, according to its annual report, received 18,234 job applications that year, of which 1817 people were appointed.

Finance and administration committee chairman Adam Allan (Northgate) did not respond to questions about why the council was spending so highly on multiple recruitment agencies.

Cr Allan did not answer whether the council had its own in-house recruitment department, or how much it spent in total on recruitment in the 2017-2018 financial year compared with the year prior.

Instead, a spokeswoman from the lord mayor’s office said: “Brisbane City Council will use agencies to find the best qualified people for specialised employment positions”.

Asked for further detail, the spokeswoman said the council at times “engages temporary administration and trade workers through agencies to meet the demands of peaks in workloads”.

“This is a more economically viable option as using temporary staff can keep costs down on projects, ensuring we are getting the best value for ratepayers,” she said.

Labor lord mayoral candidate Pat Condren called on the council to explain in detail why so much was spent in one year.

“It’s an eye-watering amount,” he said.

“Brisbane residents will be cranky to learn so much of their money is being spent on services that could be done in-house.”

Other professional recruitment contracts included a $5.3 million deal with McArthur Management Services and a $3.9 million agreement with specialised heavy industry recruitment firm Rexco People.

Smaller contracts included DFP Recruitment Services Australia at $1.2 million, along with Professional Recruitment Australia, and Eden Ritchie Recruitment, which specialises in accounting and IT jobs.

Among multiple smaller contracts with boutique recruitment and contract-hire companies were Davidson Recruitment at $506,075 and Contract Personnel at $423,096.

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