The decline in Australia’s working male population is a constant and serious trend that, unfortunately, is rarely discussed. Yet this silent crisis brings significant consequences for Australia, for the rapidly growing cohort of jobless men themselves and for their families and children.
Worst of all, evidence suggests that children without a working parent are much more likely to experience joblessness themselves in adulthood. The effects of joblessness in prime age men therefore risk becoming intergenerational, resulting in a permanent underclass of Australians with lower living standards, health outcomes and future prospects.
Policy-makers must take urgent action to reverse the exodus of men from paid work. Structural barriers in our industrial relations system must be removed to allow the long-term unemployed to re-enter the labour force. The welfare benefits that are keeping men out of work should be pared back.
If we as a country do not undertake these vital reforms, we will condemn more and more men to life on the margins of society, hidden from view.