Understanding workforce participation as a continuous rather than dichotomous variable: implications for improving workforce health

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Harris, Elizabeth
Stewart, Donald
Harris, Neil
Ritchie, Jan
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Daly J, Lowe J, Robinson P, Thompson S, Woodward A
Date
2011
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Abstract

Objective: To explore the changing nature of Australia's potential workforce, and comment on the limitations of existing fragmented infrastructure to address the health needs of all potential workers. Approach: This paper analyses the changing nature of work in Australia and the challenges this presents to existing health infrastructure. This paper argues that there are more than 1.5 million Australians who are currently unemployed, under-employed or potentially employable who should be seen as part of the workforce. Conclusion: Australia cannot afford to have so many people exposed to the significant health risks of unemployment and underemployment. Implications: Given the changing nature of employment, it may be more appropriate to see employment as a continuous variable from secure full-time employment to systematic social exclusion from the workforce, rather than a dichotomous variable of employed and unemployed. Structural responsibility for the health of the workforce is currently based on services for those in the workforce and those out of the workforce. Transforming these systems will be a complex but necessary task if we are to engage the entire potential workforce in productive activity.

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Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
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35
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2
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Health care administration
Applied economics
Policy and administration
Epidemiology
Health services and systems
Public health
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