“Our young people are assets to be cultivated and nurtured; let’s begin treating them that way.”
— Jane Fonda
The state of youth unemployment and underemployment in Australia, is an issue of great focus for The Mentorship. Since 2017, we have been on a mission to better understand and importantly, help provide solutions to the growing problem of job insecurity in young people.
We believe that no matter your age or the industry you work in, it is important to consider how employment structures and systems and disadvantaging our youth, and where there are opportunities to provide support and resources. After all, the future of our local and global economy depends on the next generation, and the present depends on how willingly and effectively we all work together.
According to recent research conducted by non-profit organisation the Foundation for Young Australians, there are 47,000 young people aged 15 to 25 in Melbourne, Australia of which:
- 23% are unemployed and a further
- 13.4% are underemployed
Anecdotally, through working with university students and graduates in fields where there are no clear career pathways, The Mentorship has uncovered key reasons for such unemployment are as follows:
- Lack of experience
- Lack of opportunities (paid and unpaid)
- Lack of confidence in skill-set
- Lack of clarity in career pathway
- Fear of uncertainty and failure
- Inability to cope with rejection
- Competitiveness in industries
FYA has also reported that:
- 32,400 young people in Melbourne are in need of enterprise of skills such as communication, digital literacy and critical thinking.
- 9,400 young people in Melbourne will be in need of re-skilling as 50% of current workplace tasks will change.
Since 2006, the youth unemployment rate in Melbourne has grown from 14% to 23%.
In analysing the shifting trends in the workforce, The Mentorship also acknowledges the challenges from the perspective of employers and industry.
It is no secret that there is a disconnect between many (if not most) work environments and the young people they employ (or consider employing). There is a gap that must be bridged to ensure ongoing success and prosperity for both parties, not merely economically, but in a social and cultural sense as well.
It is crucial for employers to start listening to and providing opportunities for younger generations – if they are to evolve and stay relevant in what is now termed, Industry 4.0.
Whilst remaining profitable is the focus of every business, the strategises to do so must encompass much broader values and visions, those in which young people of today are highly attuned and passionate about pursuing.
In Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey, it is clear that “Young workers are eager for business leaders to be proactive about making a positive impact in society- and to be responsive to employees’ needs.”
When considering an employer, these are the top priorities of Millennials:
- 63% pay
- 52% culture
- 50% flexibility
Employers must therefore remain open to new ideas and lifestyles in order to better accommodate and retain new employees.
As an example, the rigidity and often mundaneness of traditional 9-5 work structures no longer serve the younger generations, which as resulted in the rise of the ‘gig economy’.
Whilst forgoing full-time positions may not be ideal for all businesses, this presents an opportunity to explore short-term employment arrangements, contract or freelance roles – all of which can help a business trial new talent, make certain work processes more efficient and diversify their products and services through project collaboration with creative thinkers outside of their fixed employ.