Politics

Sorry Young Australians, The Jobs Market Is An Absolute Bloody Mess

We're screwed.

If you’re a young person struggling to find a job we’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that you’re not alone! More than 50,000 young Australians are trapped in long-term unemployment despite actively looking for jobs, partly due to a lack of entry-level job opportunities, according to a new study mapping youth employment trends. The bad news is that things aren’t likely to get better any time soon.

“Reality Bites: Australia’s youth unemployment in a millennial era”, published by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, found that long-term youth unemployment was currently at a level three times higher than during the global financial crisis. More than 18 percent of Australians aged 15-24  looking for work have been unemployed for a year or more, which puts them in the category of long-term unemployed.

The number of 15-24 year olds in long-term unemployment. Source: Brotherhood of St Laurence

Despite the stereotypes around young people being too ‘lazy’ to look for work, the report found that 73 percent of unemployed young Australians were actively applying for jobs — a higher rate than the rest of the population.

What Are The Barriers To Finding A Job?

Over 40 percent of unemployed young Australians said they struggled to find work because of their “lack of experience” and 33 percent said they lacked the right education. Nearly 30 percent of young Australians cited difficulty accessing transport as a factor, compared to just 20 percent of the general population.

Reasons cited for not getting a job. Source: Brotherhood of St Laurence

The report also identified that since 2006 there’s be a 50 percent reduction in the number of entry-level jobs on offer, making it even harder for young people to enter the workforce and get the experience they need for future employment.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence said that serious investment was needed to create more jobs and provide young people with long-term, sustainable careers.

Is That Going To Happen?

The report makes it pretty clear that there are serious structural problems with our jobs market that are impacting young Australians worse than other cohorts. Jobs growth and wages growth is at record lows, and more and more young workers are competing for fewer jobs.

The government could respond by investing more in the education system to prepare young people better for the workforce, and they could also invest in job creation. But… they aren’t.

Instead the government is hell bent on cutting funding to universities, and making it harder for young people to access the welfare they need to live while they look for work.

This report makes it clear that the youth unemployment crisis has nothing to do with the work ethic of millennials, but is being driven by factors out of our control. It’s time the government realised the same thing.