Solving youth unemployment crucial to economic growth

Over the last 24 months SVA, in partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Mission Australia, has hosted a series of Employment Dialogue events designed to encourage new conversations, inspire new practice, and energise new partnerships on the issue of long-term unemployment.

The final event in this series was a discussion on youth unemployment with Jonas Prising, Global CEO of ManpowerGroup.

Mr Prising highlighted youth unemployment as a critical economic growth issue globally and pressed that structural changes were needed to equip young people for the changing world of work.

‘Populations are stagnating across the developed world so utilising all the available talent within an economy will become more crucial than ever,’ Mr Prising said. ‘It’s an economic imperative for society and companies alike, and will be vital to future success.’

Mr Prising said the unprecedented speed of technological change will require institutions to adapt faster than ever before to prepare young people for the jobs of the future. ‘Anything that assists young people to connect early and closer to the labour market is going to have a very beneficial impact,’ he said.

‘Anything that assists young people to connect early and closer to the labour market is going to have a very beneficial impact.’

‘This includes comprehensive careers education from an early age, work experience opportunities, and creating multiple pathways for people to access employment of their choice. There has to be strong collaboration between industry, education and government for this to occur.’

‘Employers will have to be very proactive in articulating the skills they’re looking for, and creating opportunities for young people to get into their organisations. They’ll need to tap into as many talent sources as they can and also put greater focus on in-house learning and development to keep talent.’

Asked about how job seekers with multiple barriers to entering employment will fare in an increasingly advanced labour market, Mr Prising commented:

‘Organisations are going to have to become more willing to tap into talent sources that they’ve not looked at before, and more amenable to controlling and developing their own talent pipeline.’

Kevin Robbie, SVA’s Executive Director of Employment commented:

‘It’s clear that new and integrated approaches to our education and employment systems are needed if we are to prevent the economic and social strain that youth unemployment causes.’

‘Collaborative initiatives like Beyond the Classroom and the Industry Employment Initiative are important steps towards this shift and we are committed to continuing to work alongside partners, like ManpowerGroup, to conceive and scale solutions to this critical challenge.’

Lincoln Crawley, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup in Australia and New Zealand echoed Robbie’s comments:

‘Tackling barriers to youth employment is the responsibility of industry, government and educational institutions. We need to work together to ensure young Australians are getting the knowledge and experience they need to be work-ready. There are several job and training initiatives currently underway which are achieving great results, the challenge will be scaling them effectively at a national level while still ensuring outcomes for youth and local communities.’