By: Ibrahim Taha
Hey, I’m Ibrahim Taha, and I’m studying Arts and Law at Sydney University. I have a passion for youth affairs, particularly finding ways to help young people secure long-term employment. Our goal is to provide a simple way to get informed about various topics. We strive to provide a balanced overview but always encourage you to critically engage, read more broadly and verify sources of information before deciding who to vote for. Enjoy!
Today I’ll be writing about youth unemployment in Australia.
Firefighter, teacher or Astronaut?
Have you ever wondered what it would take to fulfil your childhood career ambitions?
Let us give you the low down on where things at:
According to the National Youth Commission, 50% of the jobs young people will work in have not even been created yet!
Young people often find it difficult to find work after leaving secondary school or graduating from university or TAFE.
There’s also the issue of underemployment, where people are working less hours than they desire.
Here’s the technical stuff:
Unemployment refers to someone of over the age of 15 who is available to work and actively looks for jobs.
Underemployment relates to people who currently work part-time but are seeking more hours than they have, which creates job insecurity.
In both categories, young people are disproportionately represented in staggeringly high statistics.
Currently what the landscape looks like:
Young people aged 15-24 years face an unemployment rate of 11.2% (March 2019), which is double the national rate of unemployment.
While some young people may have secured a job, it is most likely part-time or casual, as full-time employment among youth has been declining since the 1970s.
Our economy is becoming increasingly globalised, putting greater demands on youth to broaden their skillsets and knowledge in order to secure work in the changing labour environment, which is continually disrupted by technological advancements.
The Liberal Party
Implemented the Youth Jobs PaTH program, which enabled 100,000 young people to find jobs in 2017-18
This program links young job seekers with employers
It is run privately through non-government services that receive payments for placing job seekers into employment
However, it has not effectively achieved its objective because it only provided 4,785 internships to youth instead of the 30,000 that were promised
What do the Liberal’s propose for you:
Expand Youth Jobs PaTH programs to better target internships and training for young people to address skills shortages
Establish 10 Industry hubs in areas of high youth unemployment to meet the needs of local youth
The Labor Party
Has criticised the Jobactive program of the Government for failing to achieve its objectives, because the number of employers remaining in the program has dropped to 4%
It is unsure as to whether the Labor Party will keep this program if they are elected into office
Will scrap the Government’s Youth Jobs PaTH scheme because it’s become a “failed system” due to not meeting internship numbers that were promised
They will also redesign work for dole, which they say has obligated jobseekers to search up to 20 jobs a month
Labor believes addressing the underlying issues of youth homelessness and educational standards is more appropriate to prepare unemployed youth for a job.
Fully restore penalty rates to lift wages, despite suggestions by the Fair Work Commission to abolish them
Labor announced an extra 100 career advisor for high schools in regional areas and extra careers departments in schools where high youth unemployment exists, to kickstart the careers of young people
The Greens Party
The Greens have supported legislation to increase welfare payments to young people and have voted with the Labor Party to protect penalty rates.
Check out the Greens’ proposal:
Implement a national employment strategy for young people which includes continuing support for training schemes by local service providers
Increase Newstart payments and Youth Allowance by $75 a week, and they are the only party to make this commitment
University and TAFE fees will be abolished under the Greens by 2023. This will be paid for by taxing offshore gas companies
Drumroll please…The verdict
Both major parties are on a unity ticket to increase apprenticeships, especially in areas of skill shortages. However, Labor’s proposal will open up more placements and waiver fees for 30 TAFE courses.
The Labor party and Greens support the restoration of penalty rates, as it is a key concern for young people who work part-time or on a casual basis. The Liberal Party will take on the recommendations of the Fair Work Commission and get rid of them.
The Greens have a unique proposal in this election that neither of the other parties offer, which is the abolishment of university and TAFE fees. The last time this was introduced was under the Whitlam Labor Government in 1974! (Check out this list of current and former ministers, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, that benefited from a free or far cheaper tertiary education).
While all parties believe in reducing youth unemployment, it is a multi-faceted issue that reflects the broader changes in our economy. Let’s make sure that young people are heard at this election, because we’re the ones disproportionately affected by unemployment. Write to your local federal MP, express your concerns, and ask for their solutions!
extra resources for you to check out if you would like more information:
Learn more about the future of work over at the Foundation for Young Australians
Learn more about your rights when it comes to internships at Interns Australia
Get involved and have your say. More info at the National Youth Commission - Youth Employment & Transitions
Who has a stake or influences this?
Australian Government: Department of Jobs and Small Business, Department of Human Services, Department of Social Services, Department of Education and Training
Employers Association: National Apprentice Employment Network, Business Council of Australia, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Education sector: Higher education Universities, vocational education TAFE, Secondary schools
Youth Interest Groups: Youth Action, National Youth Commission, Centre Multicultural Youth, Youth Development Australia