The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) promotes harmonious, productive and cooperative workplaces, by enforcing compliance with Australia's workplace laws, and educating workplace participants about their rights and responsibilities.
Young people are one group of workers particularly vulnerable to exploitation. This is mainly because they have little knowledge of Australia’s workplace rights and rules.
The Are you missing out? campaign was designed to address this knowledge gap and to profile the FWO as an advocate for help.
The central campaign message Are you missing out? encourages young people to put themself in the picture. The creative materials highlight that being underpaid – even by a small amount – could impact their lifestyle. For international students, the message was Do you know your workplace rights?, using explicit easy to understand English. .
The audience was directed to a website through direct URLs for detailed information about workplace pay and conditions. Young workers were contacted through four channels; events, direct mail to career centres, postcard distribution and media.
The campaign resulted in 116,000 education resources and campaign items distributed nationally through over 1000 contact points; it received national media coverage and almost 10,000 web page views achieved within budget.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), is an independent statutory office created on 1 July 2009 by the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act), has a legislative responsibility to promote harmonious, productive and cooperative workplaces, and educate people working in Australia about their workplace rights and obligations.
To date, the FWO has undertaken several information campaigns focusing on the needs of vulnerable audiences within the national workplace relations system.
Through research young workers (16 – 25) were identified as a vulnerable group. Many are new to the workforce, with have little understanding about their workplace rights and they are unsure how to stand up for them.
Recognising that many tertiary education students need paid employment to support their living and study expenses, the FWO created a tailored information campaign to provide basic information about workplace rights, rules and protections.
Desk-based research identified an integrated public relations and marketing campaign as the most effective means to reach our target audiences en masse, within budget. Understanding our customer needs for self serve information, our call to action pulled people to our website. Here the person could choose to engage with us by:
• chatting online with a Fair Work Adviser
• accessing information tailored to audience or circumstance.
Mass distribution of collateral to student hot spots like careers and student centres ensured information was available at the point of need. The campaign was also extended to university Oweeks to engage with students face-to-face. This activity served to profile the agency, humanised the FWO and draw media attention.
The FWO commissioned market research in late 2009. Three hundred employers and 700 employees participated in the study. The findings provide valuable insights into target audience attitudes and behaviours and were used to inform our campaign strategy.
Key findings from the study are:
• Young employees aged 16-25 years have a below average understanding of current employment terms and conditions and recognise they need more information.
• Employees were more likely to use a web-based advice system compared to a telephone advice system.
• Employees with questions or concerns about a workplace issue were most likely:
- aged 16-25 years (24%)
- employed in a skilled/trade occupation (24%)
- to have an issue relating to wages and working conditions.
• 62% of 16–25 year olds were unaware of the FWO.
The research also found young workers:
• often rely on friends, family and the internet for workplace relations information and are unsure where to go for credible information.
• were likely to access internet information on an as needs basis.
This research helped us to identify the target audience and understand that directing them to a short URL was the most effective method of communication.
An interim report on the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 (released
November 2009) commissioned by Australian Education International found that:
• international students need more information about their workplace rights than local students
• many international students are not aware they are covered by workplace laws
The A4 international students guide was created with easy to understand information. Content for this guide was shaped by anecdotal intelligence provided by university careers advisors.
Upon advisors’ advice, the guide was also translated for the FWO website into six languages. The selected languages were identified as those most commonly used by international students (based on country of origin 2008-09) using statistics from the Department of Immigration.
The campaign’s target audiences were:
- local students - young workers have little knowledge of workplace relations, and are often entering the workforce looking for part-time or casual employment to support themselves through study.
- international students – these students are new to the country and have no knowledge of Australian workplace laws.
- careers advisors and contacts within education providers. They are often one of the first sources of information and advice for students.
The overall strategy was to engage students through four channels and refer them to the FWO website for more information.
The four channels were:
• national Avant card network
• face-to-face at orientation week (O-week) events
• provision of careers centre resources
Each channel was supplied with promotional items to raise awareness and directed the audience to URLs for young workers and international students.
Rationale: By coinciding with the commencement of the academic year many students are looking for work and career advisors are preparing their materials thus it was a timely for both target markets to receive workplace relations information.
The two messages used throughout the campaign were:
Target audience: local students
Are you missing out?
Rationale: The Are you missing out? slogan is based on the idea that a few dollars less in your pay can be enough to affect your student lifestyle. The slogan is intentionally ambiguous to intrigue the audience and encourages them to see themselves in the picture. Imagery used was of youths excited at an event with a silhouette cut out to emphasise the message.
Target market: international students
Do you know your workplace rights?
Rationale: A clear and direct message for our target market to easily understand. The image used was a relaxed, friendly portrait photo of a young international student in a retail store.
Media coverage was achieved through:
• metropolitan and regional newspapers (print and online)
• social media and podcasts
• radio broadcasts
Overall there were 28 media clips; all coverage was positive highlighting the need for students to understand their workplace rights and the importance of the FWO. Please see appendix A for media coverage breakdown.
The campaign encouraged a large number of students to research their workplace rights as demonstrated below.
Feedback received from staff who attended O-week events:
• 100% of staff rated it a valuable channel to engage young workers
• Majority of staff engaged in some in-depth conversations with students, providing advice and some handed out complaints kits
Relationships and networks
• At 10 of the 16 events FWO was contacted by student associations and university staff for information and resources
• As a result of the mail out, six education providers have contacted FWO requesting resupply of collateral
• FWO was invited to attend an ANU seminar resulting from contacts made during O-week.
• Through word of mouth FWO was also contacted by the Salvation Army to present at ‘The Couch – International student centre’ and also attend the Youth Expo in Melbourne