Shift Needed in How Young People Find Work

With youth underemployment at a four-decade high, career development practitioners believe young Australians need to be shifting how they find work.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence released a report in March this year, showing that underemployment had “become an entrenched feature of the youth labour market”.

According to the report, the challenge of underemployment now affects even more young people than unemployment, which currently sits at 13.5 per cent. But despite this “more brutish job scenario”, most young people are not being taught how to look for work in this changing employment environment.

While 60 per cent of jobs are found through social connectedness, university graduates are doing 90 per cent of their applications online, which is an issue. This demonstrates that Australia’s youth are missing out on a significant portion of the job market simply by how they look for work.

To change this, career development and employability skills support needs to be entrenched in our school curriculum and degree programs. Our education system needs to be enabling and engaging students in high school and tertiary education to develop their employability skills and build relationships. Strong networks will be vital in the future world of work, helping young people better connect with its constant evolution. But they need to be building these networks now. As careers writer Alison Doyle wrote recently, “your career network should be in place for when you need it”.

Networks can be built with past or present colleagues, classmates from school and university, teachers and professors, personal acquaintances and more. In fact, networking is becoming so entrenched in the world of work, that according to a recent LinkedIn report, 80 per cent of professionals believe networking is important for  career success. However, as with anything networking takes work. Building a strong network involves connecting with people online and at professional development events, and making sure you stay in touch.

“These days, it’s not just about who you know, but more about who knows you,” Wanda Hayes – National President CDAA

This blog was kindly provided by the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA).