Australia’s Millennials Struggling on Every Level

The global financial crisis didn’t gut the job prospects of Australia’s millennials, the baby boomers took care of that.

Australia’s 4.3 million young people aged 12 to 25 will be the first generation to be worse off than their parents. They have the same fantasy as generations before them: get a good job in order to raise a family and buy a home. But for many that now seems like a pipe dream.

Jan Owen, the CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians. Picture: Aaron Francis

Fifteen years ago a university degree was an unspoken acceptance into the workforce giving young workers the key to unlocking future wealth. But while the profits of universities swelled and the fortunes of baby boomers grew to almost five times the wealth of those under the age of 34 – according to the latest Grattan Report – a generation of young Australians are now facing unprecedented challenges getting into the workforce.

Youth unemployment sits at 13.27 per cent in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Underemployment is at 18 per cent, the highest level in 40 years. In the regions the figure is even more worrisome, with youth unemployment hitting as high as 41.1 per cent in “Queensland — Outback.”

This bleeding of national wealth is no accounting glitch, but rather the predictable outcome of years of economic and social policy that has been rigged to serve older generations at the expense of the young.

Foundation of Young Australians chief executive Jan Owen said while older generations benefited from low house prices and government policies such as free university education and negative gearing, younger workers have found themselves swimming in HECS debt and will see the cost of their degree rise 7.5 per cent under the latest Federal Budget measures. They will also need to pay it back sooner, with payments scheduled to kick in once they earn above $42,000.

The social and economic consequences of locking out an entire generation of workers are serious and could have a profound impact on Australia’s future economy.

This article was originally published by The Courier Mail.

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