Youth unemployment continues to grow


By Cameron Kirby

The Brotherhood of St Laurence’s new report on long term youth unemployment has highlighted a country-wide problem where 15 to 24 year olds are struggling to find work.

Youth Connections national executive officer Rebecca Sharkie says the new figures are worrying.

“We are very concerned what their finding show. That there is a jump from 16 weeks that a young person is generally looking for a position, back in 2008, to now 28 weeks out of work,” she said.

She says the issues affect nearly every community across Australia.

“Right now in Australia we have 700,000 young people who are under employed or unemployed and looking for work.”

Miss Sharkie says the high youth unemployment rates affect more than just young people

“There are pockets all over Australia that are over 20 per cent [youth unemployment] and that is quite scarring to the whole community.”

She says those young people trying to find jobs are also struggling due to changing market demands

“Young people are finding that just to get a job as a junior in a café they need food handling certificates, barista certificates. It certainly is far more competitive now.

National Network Partnership Broker Program chair  Smith Family regional manager Carmen Auerand says she is glad to see the issue finally attracting attention.

“I think it is about time that there is a spotlight put on this growing problem of young people not transitioning into employment ,” she said.

Ms Auer says young people are struggling to transition from education into industry.

“There is a bit of delineation between support for people through education and then what happens after education.”

She says the job of helping young people find employment is something everyone must take responsibility for.

“Clearly the government has a role to play, and community has a role to play, and industry has a role to play, in getting those young people into productive employment.”

Francesco Asitarte was part of the research team that put together the report and says the economic impacts of youth unemployment are serious.

“The duration of unemployment is very important, and it is important for various reasons. The first one is that the long individuals are unemployed, the more difficult it is to get back into the labor market,” he said.

Mr Azitarte says the issue has been ongoing and only getting worse.

“The striking thing is that we found the duration of youth unemployment has been increasing for the last six years “

He says it will not be a simple issue to fix, but one that needs to be addressed.

“This is not good for society. We need to address this,” he said.