I came across an interesting article published on the Australian Human Resources Institute AHRI website about youth unemployment. The gist of the article brings up the concerning issue of youth unemployment in Australia. On a positive note Australia is a lot better off than other countries (e.g. Greece (53%), Spain (55%), UK (21.1%)) with its youth unemployment rate being significantly lower in comparison. However Australia’s youth unemployment rate is in fact twice that of the general community standing at 12%.
The article went on to contribute some of the reasons for a high youth unemployment rate due to, YES the economy with apprenticeship programs and entry level roles being slashed. The article stipulates that in the post-war years, young people could move into employment straight from school, young men into low-level business positions or apprenticeships, and young women into secretarial, nursing or jobs in manufacturing. However there are less of these entry level opportunities in the current market.
On the flip side the other contributing factor to the increase in youth unemployment is that many youths are staying in the education sector longer (completing grade 12 and going onto university studies) which can only benefit Australia in the long term. I believe this trend is vitally important given that we are an economy that puts a premium on the acquisition of high-level knowledge and skills. A question mark remains for the future of young people who do not see higher education as a realistic or attractive option given the way business is evolving into a highly sophisticated and innovative beast.
CommSec’s Chief Economist Craig James made the point that an ageing population makes it imperative that young people be encouraged to enter the labour market. Australian Business’s and Government should as a whole be taking more interest in today’s youth and providing more on-job experiences (apprenticeships, volunteer work, part-time job placements etc) after all today’s youths are tomorrow’s leaders.
Chanelle Stewart – Consultant