Young Australians face challenges their parents and grandparents could not have imagined.
The combination of youth underemployment and unemployment poses enormous risks, especially for disadvantaged young people.
Australia has entered its 28th year of continuous economic growth. But the prosperity dividend has not been shared fairly with the emerging generation.
As a start, it’s time for policymakers to offer all jobhunters aged 15 to 25 a specialist youth employment service rather than the nation’s still fragmented response.
Conny Lenneberg, Executive Director, Brotherhood of St Laurence
A powerful reshaping underway in the youth labour market has ushered in an era of job insecurity for Australia’s youth. In 2018, young Australians are far more likely to work part-time than 40 years ago.
Just as they are launching independent lives, 20-somethings are especially hard hit. Our new analysis finds more than 550,000 young people aged 20 to 24 working part time. Notably, for many, this change was not because they were otherwise engaged in full-time study. Indeed, more than 260,000 young people in this age group who were not in full-time study had a job – but only worked part time.
And, many of these young workers desperately want more hours.
READ THE REPORT: Part-time purgatory: young and underemployed in Australia
STAYING AFLOAT: Working 9 to 5, an impossible dream?
The onset of summer has offered an opportunity for early school leaver Quaylin to increase his hours as a swimming instructor at a suburban leisure centre. Still, working 30 hours a week on a casual basis falls short of the full-time hours he needs to build his modest Australian dream of a stable future.Underemployment must be considered alongside stubbornly high youth unemployment rates to take the true temperature of Australia’s youth labour market.
Overall, youth unemployment for 15 to 24 year olds persists at 11.2 per cent while the underemployment rate for this age group exceeds 18 per cent (October 2018).
Meet Quaylin: WATCH THE VIDEO
FOCUS ON FIRST PEOPLES
“I struggled with the education system and how I was perceived as an Indigenous person”
Much work is needed to close gaps in education, employment and health but the next generation also has strength to draw on within the community, says the emerging Indigenous leader.
I am a 23-year-old Yamatji-Badimia woman, originally from Western Australia, who now lives and works in Melbourne.
My story can be seen as one of success: I graduated with a nursing degree from RMIT University, I am a registered nurse and have a leadership role in the community as Deputy Executive Officer at the Koorie Youth Council.
For many years, though, I struggled with the education system and how I was perceived as an Indigenous person. Whilst my connection to my country and my mob was always strong and I have a supportive family, at school I wasn’t engaged and I wasn’t always interested in pursuing my studies.
My early years were spent between Geraldton and Perth. My cousins and I were the only Aboriginal people at school in the city. Historical acts, such as the Stolen Generations, were never taught to us. As young Aboriginal people we also faced racism at school, from other students and even, at times, from our teachers.
SOURCE: “Youth Unemployment Monitor”, Brotherhood of St Laurence, November 2018.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia