Half of Australia’s 25 year olds are unable to secure full-time employment, despite 60 per cent holding post-school qualifications, according to the latest report from The Foundation for Australians (FYA).
The New Work Reality report, which follows the journeys of 14,000 young people over a decade, reveals young Australians increasingly face a number of significant barriers when seeking full time jobs.
Three quarters of young Australians don’t believe they have the relevant vocational and practical work experience that the job market calls for, while seven out of 10 believe there is insufficient job availability. One in four believe they lack the necessary interview and job application skills.
How young people create a full-time workload has also changed, with the number of young people working full-time hours in casual jobs doubling since 1992.
The underutilisation of so many young Australians in our workforce is costing the economy 790 million lost hours of work each year, equating to up to $15.9 billion in lost GDP.
“Australia’s promise to our young people has been that their education is the ‘golden ticket’ to a full-time job. Over the past decade however, that promise to the next generation has been broken as Australia is failing to stay responsive and relevant in a rapidly changing world,” FYA CEO, Jan Owen said.
“This report highlights that for our young people, the future of work that we have been forecasting is already here. We have to work together now to rethink, reinvigorate and modernise our learning systems so they support young people to develop the skills, mindset and confidence this new work reality demands.”
The New Work Reality report identifies that the transition to securing full-time work can be accelerated when young people have:
Courses teaching enterprise skills like problem solving, teamwork and communication. This can increase the speed of entry to working full-time hours by 17 months.
Combining study and work in a job that will provide opportunities to explore their desired area of work. This can speed up the transition to full-time work by 12 months when 5,000 hours of paid employment are completed.
Employment within an area of work which has strong growth future prospects can speed up the transition by 5 months.
An optimistic mindset and strong well-being by age 18. This can accelerate the transition by up to two months faster than a young person who is unhappy or not confident with their career prospects before leaving school.
“More than ever before young people need access to a relevant, high quality education and learning pathways that reflect and respond to their changing and diverse needs, and those of the economy,” Ms Owen said.
“FYA strongly believes that we need a renewed, comprehensive and strategic investment in Australia’s young people to prepare them for the transition to the new work order.”
FYA believes such an investment should include:
A nation building education strategy to redesign the learning system and curriculum from preschool through higher education (and beyond)
A commitment to work integrated models of learning to ensure opportunities to gain critical relevant work experience; and
A targeted policy to strengthen the focus on mental well-being to prepare young people entering this transition period in their lives.
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