The BSL Social Policy and Research Centre studies what is needed to create inclusive decent work. We also investigate what helps or hinders people to get, keep and advance in their employment.

For many people in Australia, having a job does not guarantee economic security. Low wages, insecure work and rising costs of living mean that even with a job, a person might not be making a decent living.

Our research examines the lived experience of labour market disadvantage and analyses secondary data to understand trends.

Unemployment and underemployment are increasing. Factors such as age, gender, disability or ill health, and ethnic background may affect pathways into and in and out of work.

People who rely on low wages or income support can struggle to make ends meet.

Our policy and research work examines the links between the changing nature of work, social and economic policy, inequality and insecurity.

We study the current and future impacts for those groups that are more likely than others to experience poverty and social exclusion.

Our work informs the development of policies and programs to address the growing differences in employment opportunity and economic security.

Find all recent publications on Work (2000–present)

Visit the BSL library for our prior research on Work (pre 2000)

Our policy positions for work

• Mobilise local efforts through place-based collaborations of employers, TAFEs, local governments, employment services and community organisations to inform stimulus measures, foster economic development and strengthen regional labour markets.

• Develop a Jobs and Climate Accord: a grand bargain of business; unions; governments and community to advance Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

• Invest in more effective and enabling employment assistance that builds capabilities, harnesses local effort, engages employers and is tailored to the circumstances of different groups of jobseekers.

• Expand social procurement measures across Australia to ensure jobseekers experiencing disadvantage benefit from employment opportunities generated by public expenditure.

Selected publications

By Andrew Thies, Deborah Warr and Georgia Katsikis 2023

How are online platforms affecting support workers’ conditions and the quality of support available to people with disability?

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By Margaret Kabare and Dina Bowman 2023

Adopting a gender lens helps to identify barriers affecting women and create opportunities to improve women’s financial wellbeing in regional towns.

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By Joseph Borlagdan, Ally Phillipou, Felicity Miles and Jonathan Bak 2022

This report examines the contexts and mechanisms which enable the implementation of a national youth employment ecosystem that connects young people to decent work while also meeting the workforce needs of employers and industry in local communities.

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Selected projects

Cute baby boy on his dad s hands walking on road o 2023 11 27 04 50 18 utc SMALL

How has becoming or being a parent affected the economic security of participants in this longitudinal study?

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Team of modern fashion designers during work 2023 11 27 05 17 07 utc SMALL2

This study focuses on a BSL initiative to increase participation in mainstream employment for people with disability.

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Young female volunteers working at donation center 2023 11 27 05 16 58 utc small

How can public and private sector organisations use their purchasing power to create positive social impact?

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Senior woman portrait and engineering clipboard f 2023 11 27 05 00 03 utc small

Australia's older workers on low incomes tend to have poorer health, but they are being expected to work longer.

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Student studying in the university 2023 11 27 05 23 25 utc small

A project giving young people the freedom to take photographs that represent their experiences of education or employment

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Looking for services related to work?

Given the Chance graduate at work in recycling plant

Given the Chance is one of our longest running and most effective employment support programs.

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Smiling Stepping Stones to Small Business participants

For women with refugee, asylum seeker and migrant backgrounds, Stepping Stones to Small Business provides opportunities to achieve financial wellbeing.

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Smiling young man participating in group learning activity

Our Youth Transitions Support Pilot Program helps young refugees participate in the community through work, education and sport.

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Smiling young woman participating in group learning activity

Creating Futures for Youth empowers young people to pursue their career goals and build their capacity to work or undertake further learning.

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