Lazy Aussies just don’t want to work
May 29, 2014
Workers protest about 457 Visas in 2013. Photo: Jason South
“I’m just not gonna hire Aussies anymore,” says the proprietor of a successful cafe/restaurant worn down by the unreliability of his Australian-born staff.
His establishment, once manned by sun-kissed locals, is now powered exclusively by Asian, Middle Eastern and Afghan immigrants as well as visiting backpackers, all of whom are booking valuable experience and guidance from their talented and accomplished restaurateur employer.
“Why?” I ask.
At least they’re aren’t sending jobs overseas. Photo: Ron Tandberg
“Aussies don’t want to work. Or they won’t work weekends or public holidays. Or they can only work these days and not those days. Or they ring up and say they’re sick and they were drinking with me the night before. Or they have to take a week off to go to Splendour,” he says.
“Mayfield hasn’t had a sick day in two-and-a-half years,” he says pointing at his Filipino assistant chef who began work as a dishwasher.
“He couldn’t peel a prawn when he started here. Now he’ll get a job in any restaurant in the country,” he says, “he can cook fish as well as I can.”
Official figures revealed yesterday show employers have recruited 37,620 foreign managers, professionals and tradespeople on 457 work visas during the first nine months of this financial year, despite almost 200,000 unemployed Aussies being qualified to do the same job.
While unions have again demanded tighter controls on migrant labour, employer groups said newcomers were merely filling positions locals “would or could not do”.
The opposition employment spokesman, Brendan O’Connor, told The Australian it was imperative the Abbott government maintain regulations requiring employers advertise jobs locally.
“At a time when the labour market is softening, the government must ensure Australians workers are first in line for job vacancies,’’ he said.
However, while this approach is laudable and necessary, many bosses I’ve spoken to say their preference for foreign-born workers comes down to one factor: Australians are lazy.
“If I was starting a software company,” says an experienced software engineer, “I would employee only Indian-born coders.”
“Why?” I ask.
“They just get it. They work hard, they’re polite, they get the work done, they don’t bitch and moan. They want to work, to learn, they’re not looking for excuses to do less work, which I find so many Australian-born workers do,” she says.
“But surely Aussie IT workers are just as good?”
“Some are,” she says, “but good doesn’t mean much if they spend half their day on the Iconic, looking for shoes, or they argue the toss on every instruction you give them.”
“No one is happy with the job they have now, they’re always looking ahead to the next job. Indian-born IT workers understand that the way to get the next job is to do the best work possible at this job,” she says.
At a push, she says she would employ coders with immigrant parents saying their children are “still hungry”. She admits she’s guilty of “positive racism” but “I’ve experienced this problem so many times, I just don’t know how to couch it in politically correct terms anymore,” she says.
“I’ve got absolutely no data to back up my thesis up but I’ve simply found the harder someone’s upbringing has been, the harder they’ll work and most Australian-born workers grew up easy and it engenders a sense of entitlement,” she says.
The perception of the lazy Aussie is also widespread amongst foreign-born tradesmen. I’ve worked on building sites many times over the years and often encountered the term “Lozies” – slang for “lazy aussies”.
A friend of Italian descent who’s an experienced floor and wall tiler agrees enthusiastically: “Especially the older ones, they just don’t want to put in the hours. Lazy Aussie Lozies,” he says.
“Why do you reckon the Lebanese run all the demo(lition) and concreting? The Chinese are taking over the tiling and electrical work, though they’re not as good as the Koreans. Those blokes know what hard work is,” he says.
A casual examination of the people who are our parking inspectors, cab drivers, kitchen and cleaning staff tells much the same story. These are roles increasingly populated by foreign-born workers, more than willing to do the “shit jobs”.
A vacation rentals broker tells me of her frustration attempting to find reliable removalists to pick up and drop off furniture to her new holiday lettings.
“Then I found Kenny and Joseph,” she says, a Korean double act with an Econovan.
“They can do three trips in their van before my old blokes could do one in their truck. They just don’t stop. They’re machines,” she says.
She now uses them exclusively and has had to stop recommending them to other people out of fear they’ll be poached. Kenny and Joseph just bought another van for their nephews to join them in the business.
An empire is born.
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