How Young People are Faring 2011

The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) is proud to announce the launch of How Young People are Faring (HYPAF) 2011 – the latest report in an annual series on the employment and education situation of young Australians. The HYPAF report, prepared by Lyn Robinson, Mike Long and Stephen Lamb from the Centre for Research on Education Systems at the University of Melbourne, shows two significant long-term trends:

  • the stability of working life for young people has steadily decreased
  • Australia’s economic prosperity is consistently not being passed on to many young people.

To read the full HYPAF report online click here; to download a copy (PDF file, 1.6MB), right click here and select “Save Link As”.

To read the HYPAF at-a-glance version online click here; to download the at-a-glance version (PDF file, 0.4MB) right click here and select “Save Link As”.

This year’s report shows a disturbing trend that the warning signs are not being heeded. Jan Owen AM, FYA’s CEO, said, “It is clear from HYPAF 2011 that young adults are more vulnerable than the rest of the population to economic instability. They are suffering from the decline in full-time job prospects and the move to more flexible working arrangements.”

“While there are some positive developments in young people’s participation in learning and earning, we need to pay attention to the warning signs that highlight how vulnerable young people continue to be in these troubled economic times,” Ms Owen continued.


Key HYPAF 2011 findings include:

  • more than one quarter of all long-term unemployed Australians are now aged 15 to 24
  • since 2008, the percentage of young Australians without a job for a year or longer has almost doubled
  • despite Australia’s relative economic buoyancy, teenagers in Australia have higher rates of long-term unemployment than in many other OECD countries.

Dr Lucas Walsh, FYA’s Director of Research and Evaluation, said that the overriding dilemma is the “pronounced and ongoing economic vulnerability” of Australia’s young people. “Young people are the first to be disadvantaged by an economic downturn, and among the last to recover,” Dr Walsh said.

“The percentage of school leavers who are not studying or working is as high as it was during the recession of the early 1990s – this is an important warning sign for us,” Dr Walsh remarked. “We need to continue to focus on educational attainment, as well as developing effective interventions to improve student engagement. At the same time, we need to strengthen transition pathways, including VET in schools, and provide support for re-engagement and recovery, especially for those who are being left behind.”

Ms Owen said, “We must take action to ensure that Australia’s prosperity is passed on to our young people. They deserve stable employment and access to a prosperous future.”