Securing full-time, ongoing work, is a challenge for today’s young Australians.
The Foundation for Young Australians’ latest report, the New Work Reality, shows that although our young people are more educated than ever (with 60% holding post-school qualifications), 50% of 25 year-olds are unable to obtain full-time work. The average transition from full-time work to full-time study is 2.6 years (not including young people who take gap years or volunteer after study).
In 1986 that transition took on average one year.
One job is no longer the reality; since 1992, the number of young people working in casual, precarious jobs has more than doubled from 10% to 21%. It is the new norm for young people to piece together bits of casual and part-time work to make up a full-time working week – and not always in their relevant field of training or education.
Adding to this, FYA’s New Work Smarts report demonstrates that by 2030 automation will transform every job across the economy. This means young people now, more than ever, need to be prepared with career management capabilities and transferable enterprise skills to adapt to constantly evolving work environments.
To ensure young people are equipped with these skills, we need to adopt a new mindset in the way we approach and navigate work. Rather than understanding and preparing for working life on one linear career pathway, young Australians need to change their mindsets to see skills as portable across a cluster of jobs, and to manage a portfolio of work. This also includes finding new ways to enter the job market.
We spoke to two young innovators who are already starting to challenge the way young people approach their working lives:
Nathan Murphy, Founder & CEO of JobHack
JobHack is a free online course that teaches young people the practical skills of creating their own job whether that is becoming a freelancer, starting a small business, a social enterprise or startup. JobHack aims to help young people everywhere create their own jobs and reduce youth unemployment globally.
“Over 40% of the world’s youth are either unemployed or have a job but live in poverty, and 73 million young people are currently looking for work. These kind of numbers mean we desperately need free online education solutions that are scalable and accessible, not more ‘face-to-face-expensive-to-deliver-workshops-and-programs’.” Nathan says.
“That’s my logical reason for having started it. There’s a personal reason as well though. I was lucky to develop an entrepreneurial mindset at the age of 16. But a few years later I went through a period of homelessness, and because I already had that mindset I was able to get myself out of it.”
Nathan explains that young people have two options when they are looking for work: search for it or create it.
“Our message is that they can create their own jobs if they are willing to take a risk and put a product or service in front of a prospective paying customer.”
According to Nathan, JobHack has had over 27,000 students from across 196 countries signing up to the course in 2017, and completion rate of the course is also 5x higher than that of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) industry average.
“Behind the numbers the real wins are receiving the emails from students who have finished JobHack and after a few months have created something for themselves which is now employing them.”
Marnie Shanahan, Founder & Director of The New Kid
The New Kid is a career site that helps young Australians find paid internships.
In her last year of university, Marnie completed four unpaid internships in the hope that it would equip her with enough experience to find a job after graduation. Marnie explained that everyone around her was doing the same thing.
“If everyone’s doing internships and struggling to navigate which are paid & valuable, why isn’t there a website that focuses on these work arrangements while filtering out the unpaid ones that are predominantly illegal and exploitative?” Marnie says.
By making her platform free and accessible and promoting paid internships only, Marnie believes this allows all young people to have the same opportunity to find paid work and avoid unpaid internships which are inherently exclusive to only those who can afford to work for free.
Moving forward, Marnie explains that solving the two-sided marketplace puzzle is her constant challenge.
“I made the mistake of initially focusing 100% on solving problems for young people (‘users’ ) while neglecting the problems of businesses (‘customers’), but I learnt quickly that being a passionate advocate doesn’t automatically build a viable and scalable business. Getting community champions on board is my next hurdle – Corporates who pay their interns, are committed to supporting young Australians, and prioritise diversity.”
To find out more about the future of work, download FYA’s New Work Order research series here.