Almost one-third of Australian young people are unemployed or underemployed, the highest level in 40 years, according to a new report released last week, The Guardian reports.
The rate of underemployment – now at 18% – has become an entrenched feature of the youth labour market, according to the Generation Stalled report, commissioned by the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
It has eclipsed the rate of 13.5% youth unemployment and is far ahead of the overall rate of 8.6%, itself historically high but stable.
Head of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Tony Nicholson, said the record rates particularly hurt people who don’t go to university and gain qualifications and skills “to navigate the fast-changing modern economy”.
“Stable work is the passport for our young people to build a good life for themselves,” he said. “Young people starting out today face a much harsher job scenario than their parents and grandparents did.”
The report analysed data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey.
“The youth unemployment rate for 15- to 24-year-olds has remained stubbornly high since the global financial crisis, a profound economic ruction which has cast a near decade-long shadow on the prospects of youth in many developed nations,” said the report.
“Australia has been far from immune, and increasingly unemployment rates tell only part of the story of young people’s more fraught experience of entering the workplace today compared with generations past.”
In February there were more than 650,000 people aged between 15 and 24 looking for work or underemployed. It pointed towards a rapid growth in insecure and nonpermanent jobs, with young people far more likely to be in casual and part-time jobs than at the turn of the century.
The gap between the hours young people want to work and their actual working hours has widened over 15 years, it found.
The findings come as singer-songwriter Jimmy Barnes lent his voice to the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s campaign for youth employment. Barnes, who grew up in Adelaide’s manufacturing heartland of Elizabeth, has contributed a column for the welfare group’s Youth Unemployment Monitor newsletter, the organisation announced in a statement.
“From parents to governments, we owe it to the next generation to do better on this, don’t we?” Barnes writes.
650,000 young Australians out of work or not getting enough hours: new report (Brotherhood of St Laurence)
Generation stalled (Brotherhood of St Laurence)
Jimmy Barnes Wise Words (Brotherhood of St Laurence)