This report outlines why employment-focused social enterprises offer an alternative people-centred approach to mainstream employment solutions. Far more than just being a different way to do business, employment-focused social enterprises can build capacity and create positive impacts for the people they aim to help, as well as society as a whole.
The unemployment rate for the general population has declined in recent years. However, there is a growing number of Australians struggling to find and maintain meaningful employment. They experience complex barriers to participation, requiring more tailored and personalised employment support services.
Research suggests that employment-focused social enterprises are an alternative solution. They have been found to produce higher and better employment outcomes than mainstream employment services for people experiencing significant disadvantage.
Research shows that employment-focused social enterprises provide many benefits:
To the individual:
- Improving people’s lives and livelihoods, while directly reducing the costs of welfare, health, and housing services.
- Addressing some of the gaps in our current employment and employment services systems, by providing people-centred work settings, tailored solutions and sustainable service delivery models.
- Producing better employment outcomes than mainstream employment services for people experiencing significant disadvantage.
- According to some evidence, producing intergenerational benefits by improving quality of life for households.
To the broader community and the Australian economy:
- Employment-focused social enterprises can be as efficient and more productive than their commercial counterparts.
- Improving workforce participation reduces disadvantage, increases our national potential for innovation, and creates billions in improved productivity for Australia.
- Employment-focused social enterprise can be a sustainable business model, providing employment pathways that reduce reliance on government and philanthropic funding.