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Generation Jobless: NFP Report

1 September 2014 at 11:09 am
Lina Caneva
More than half a million young people underemployed or unemployed, according to a new report by welfare Not for Profit the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Lina Caneva | 1 September 2014 at 11:09 am


Generation Jobless: NFP Report
1 September 2014 at 11:09 am

More than half a million young people underemployed or unemployed, according to a new report by welfare Not for Profit the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

The organisation says the report puts the spotlight on the untold story of more than 310,000 Australians aged 15 to 24 who are underemployed – that is they have some work but want more hours.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data found when you add those who are without any work, more than 580,000 young Australians are now either underemployed or unemployed.

“Overall, this represents more than a quarter of 15 to 24 year olds in the labour market,” the report said.

''This devastating data highlights just how much the job market has changed for youth attempting the transition from school to work in the Australian economy,'' Executive Director of the national anti-poverty group, Tony Nicholson said.

"Young Australian’s are facing a dual assault on their aspirations for the future. The unemployment rate for young people now stands at the highest since 2001 and the underemployment rate for young people is the highest since 1978.

"As a nation we really need to develop the potential of our emerging generation, but far too many of our young people are now at risk of joining the ranks of 'Generation Jobless' in the modern economy.”

Nicholson's comments follows the latest national unemployment rate nationally for those aged 15 to 24 registering at 14.1 per cent in July – the highest rate since October 2001.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence report, Barely Working: Young and Underemployed in Australia, shows that:

  •          With more than 15 per cent of 15-24 year olds in the labour market underemployed, young people are more likely to be in this limbo situation than at any time since 1978 when this ABS data series began.
  •          The trend to youth being underemployed has intensified since the Global Financial Crisis.
  •          The proportion of employed people between 15 and 24 years of age who are underemployed is now twice that among the overall working-age population.
  •          Young people are much more likely to be employed precariously, on casual or fixed term contracts. For every year but one between 2001 and 2012 the proportion of employed young people in non-permanent work was more than 50 per cent, while for all age groups it ranged between 30 and 35 per cent.

Nicholson said that the Global Financial Crisis had ushered in tighter labour markets, limited job opportunities and insecure employment – especially for young people.

"Young people really do aspire to the same mainstream life goals as their parents and grandparents – they want a home, a job, relationships and a decent income," he said.

"Alarmingly, these goals are becoming unattainable for an increasing number of youth. There are fewer entry-level jobs and the work they can get is increasingly casual or temporary. These insecure jobs are more vulnerable to being axed and less likely to offer training and career advancement.

"The way we deal with young people going through one of the most vulnerable periods of their lives must foster aspiration and real hope, not further alienation.

"Just tinkering with welfare policy won't help and withdrawing benefits for some of our most marginalised young people will have harsh unintended consequences.

"Australia really needs a national youth transitions strategy to assist young people to build their qualifications, skills and experience to obtain a job and create a good future for themselves.”

The Australian Greens said the Brotherhood of St Laurence report demonstrates how flawed the Federal Government's attitude to jobseekers is.

Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services Senator Rachel Siewert said under Earn or Learn, jobseekers would lose income support for six months at a time and are subjected to work for the dole.

“This regime also extends to young people who are working part time and receiving a part payment of Newstart or Youth Allowance because they're not getting enough hours at work," Senator Siewert said.

"Earn or Learn is a blunt, unjustified approach being done in the name of "encouraging" people into work or study. In reality, the Government is just punishing those people who can't find work or can't get enough hours. This approach will make it harder for people to find work, not encourage them into work.

"Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey know full well that their policy will cause harm, rather than help jobseekers. That's why they've taken $229 million over four years from the existing funding available for discretionary grants, in order to fund the 550,000 applications for emergency relief the Government expects to result from their so called 'reforms'.

"The Government needs to develop better services to help young people move into the work force, help them connect with employers and get the skills or qualifications they need."


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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