Youth Unemployment on the Rise [in the media]

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Currently more than 1 in 3 unemployed persons in Australia fall with in the 15-24 age group category. 

New data from the ABS analysed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence earlier this week indicates that some regions in Australia are seeing over 1 in 5 (20%) young people aged 15 to 24 out of work.

While Australia’s total unemployment has recently jumped to 6% – the highest rate recorded over the past decade – this percentage is still lower than many other OECD nations (where the 2013 average unemployment rate across all OECD nations was estimated at 7.9%).

Youth unemployment figures, however, are an altogether different story. The ABS data released indicates that unemployment rates for those aged 15 to 24 increased to 12.2% in January 2014 (up from 8.8% in 2008). For young people aged 15 to 19 the unemployment rate is much higher, sitting around 23%.

Mark McCrindle joins Wake Up to discuss the latest trends regarding youth unemployment in Australia.

He agrees that these figures are alarming, stating, "We do have some problems with unemployment, particularly for young people. When you have 1 in 4 young people aged 15-19 who are not in full-time education and can’t get a job, you’ve got an issue. If we had an unemployment figure of double digits, let alone 1 in 4, it would be a national disaster. Yet that’s what we’ve got with our young people in Australia.”

“Even if we take the 15 to 24 year olds, nationally we have an unemployment rate in some areas above 20%, which compares to some of the more challenged economies around the globe.”

Mark gives reasons for the rise in youth unemployment, stating, “We have had a bit of a slow-down in the economy, particularly in entry-level jobs where employers have cut roles to save money.”

The main factor he says, however, is young people’s lack of opportunities to gain experience.

“The other problem is that employers are now looking for experience, and when young people are starting out, that is one thing they don’t have – which is a difficult challengee. If someone leaves full-time education and within a year is not within full-time work, this begins to set an unemployment trajectory for their future.”

Mark agrees that there needs to be a national strategy to address youth unemployment, and that older Australian workers are a key part in the solution.

“It certainly needs to be looked at – we need some solutions. It’s not just about getting older workers out of jobs and trying to solve the unemployment of one generation by changing employment in another. Older workers and employers can help solve the problem by offering training and mentoring.”

“In looking at a national training strategy, we need to ensure that with the current focus on higher education, we help young people who don’t head that way get into a trade or entry-level position.”

Watch the latest segment here:

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