New Research Shows Young Australians Are Getting Screwed Over By Basically Everyone

Student debt, graduate unemployment, the cost of living - it's all going up.

Two new studies released this week have confirmed that it’s not a great time to be a young person in Australia. With rising student debt, more graduates than ever competing for jobs and a slowing economy, young Australians are feeling the pressure, and it’s starting to hurt.

A report by the Grattan Institute has found that only half of all science graduates actually secured full-time work after job hunting for four months. Back in 2011, nearly two-thirds of science grads found full-time work within four months, so things are getting tougher out there in the job market. Engineers fare the best when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates, with 75 percent of them finding full-time work.

But no one told me about the debt!

In 2012 the federal government removed caps on the number of students each university could enrol. Since then there’s been a boom in enrolments, particularly in science, which some experts think is fuelling the rise in graduate unemployment.

It’s not just science graduates who are struggling. Data released last year showed that only 68 percent of university graduates found full-time work within four months of finishing their degrees — the lowest rate on record. The bad news doesn’t end there, unfortunately. Even if you are luckily enough to nab a grad job, it turns out starting salaries have been declining for the past six years and they are currently at their lowest level ever recorded.

But wait, there’s more! A separate report by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has found that “today’s young Australians are facing a very real possibility that their generation will be the first to be worse off than their parents.” According to FYA, a bachelor’s degree in 2016 costs two-and-a-half times more than it did back in 1991 and the rate of wage increases for young Australians is half the rate it is for the rest of the population.

fya eD

Source: FYA 2016

Nearly three times as many young Australians are stuck in part-time work, compared to 30 years ago, and the gender pay gap hasn’t closed at all during that same period. Over the past 10 years the government has increased the amount of money it spends on older people but decreased the amount it spends on people under the age of 25. The FYA thinks that our generation could be the first in history to contribute more to government spending than we receive due to “an ageing population, higher health costs and a smaller workforce supporting these growing pressures.”

And just in case you’d forgotten how brutal the housing market is, FYA have helpfully reminded us. If you live in Sydney it’s going to take you 15 years to save up for a deposit on your first house. Back in 1985 it was only six years. If you’re in Melbourne it will take you 11 years, up from five. Better of renting, you think? Well average rental costs have increased 44 percent in the past decade, so you’re stuffed either way.

FYA housing

Source: FYA 2016

Collectively the studies paint a pretty bleak future. Whether it’s rising student debt, record high graduate unemployment, a ruthless housing market or unfair government policies, young Australians are getting screwed. But hey, at least we have Netflix?