On March 27, Mission Australia released Working through it: A Youth Survey report on economically disadvantaged young people. The report utilised data from their annual youth survey and analyses the similarities and differences between two groups of young people—those who have neither parent or guardian currently in paid employment, and those who have at least one parent or guardian in paid employment.
We’ve pulled three key insights from the Working through it report that are affecting young people’s ability to succeed. Before we dive in though, it’s important to know that “economically disadvantaged” refers to the young people without a parent or guardian in work.
Insight #1: Economically disadvantaged young people are less likely to pursue further study
Actually, they are three times more likely to be out of study than young people with at least one working parent or guardian in work. Around 10.2% of economically disadvantaged young people surveyed were not pursuing further study. This is particularly concerning given that the Commonwealth Department of Employment forecasts that in Australia, an additional 948,000 jobs will be created by 2022, but only 70,000 of those jobs will require only a senior secondary level education. By not supporting economically disadvantaged young people to access further study, we risk leaving some young people behind in the future of work.
Insight #2: Economically disadvantaged young people were less confident in their ability to achieve post-school goals
Almost 15% of economically disadvantaged young people indicated they were “slightly confident” or “not at all confident”, compared with 9.6% of survey participants with parents or guardians in paid work. Additionally, around 50.3% of economically disadvantaged respondents reported “go to university” as their plan after finishing school, which was markedly lower than the proportion of respondents with one or both parents in work, which sat at 68%.
FYA’s New Work Reality report highlights that feeling positive about post-school career goals can have an impact on a young person’s ability to find and secure work. In fact, a young person who is happy about their career prospects at the age of 18 can get to full-time work two months faster than a young person who is not happy with their career prospects. To find out more about other facts that can help a young person get to work faster, you can view the report here.
Insight #3: More than half of economically disadvantaged young people felt there were barriers to finding work
A total of 51.9% of economically disadvantaged young people felt there were significant barriers to securing a job, compared with 38% of respondents with one or both of their parents or guardians in paid employment. Barriers to securing work included a lack of jobs, mental health, lack of family support and family responsibilities. FYA’s New Work Reality findings are similar, revealing that 70% of young people unable to secure work by 25 identified insufficient job availability as a barrier for them to getting a full-time job. Other barriers identified included a lack of relevant work experience, a lack of career management skills, and a lack of appropriate education.
The Working through it report goes on to make a range of policy recommendations, ranging from alternative education programs that better support young people at risk of becoming disengaged, to increasing access to Centrelink social security programs like Newstart and Youth Allowance.
However, there are two recommendations which align direct to FYA’s vision and work. These recommendations put young people at the centre of change, and see partnerships and collaboration as key to success.
- “Economic development opportunities and partnerships between business and community could be expanded to offer more job opportunities in local areas and to support young people in their skill development.”
- “Youth services should be co-designed with young people and young people’s voice should be included in the development of local community services and programs.”