Youth Employment Report

Youth unemployment continues to be a persistent problem globally and locally, reaching as high as 22.4 per cent in some Australian communities*

There are a multitude of causes for this sustained growth in youth unemployment, including a non-buoyant labour market for young people post Global Financial Crisis (GFC), a downturn in the number of entry level positions and apprenticeships available, the casualisation of the workforce and the reality that older employees are not transitioning to retirement at the same rate as pre-GFC.

While this impacts all young job seekers, unsurprisingly the impact is felt the greatest by those young people considered at risk of or already experiencing long-term unemployment.

Since we were established in 2002, Social Ventures Australia (SVA) has been committed to understanding the root causes of and effective interventions for tackling unemployment. Underpinning our work is a commitment to using evidence to drive systemic change. More recently we have focused our attention on seeking the most effective prevention and intervention approaches in supporting young people experiencing long-term unemployment into sustainable employment. The Fundamental principles for youth employment report is the product of a national and international research project into the fundamental principles that underpin successful programs and initiatives supporting young people into sustainable employment.

The research uncovered an understanding of the underlying causes, interrelated players, risk factors and personal and economic costs of a young person falling into long term unemployment. The international scan offers lessons from global efforts taken by governments and the social sector to tackle youth unemployment.

The Principles Framework

The report identifies ten fundamental principles which are essential to effectively support young people into employment. These are detailed in the Principles Framework, and can be broadly split into two key categories:

  • Personal: Young people are ready to work: the capabilities and experiences a young person needs to develop to gain and retain meaningful employment
  • Community infrastructure: Collaboration to deliver employment solutions for young people: the components of a healthy ecosystem required to support the successful transitions into employment.

Infographic for Youth Employment report

Unemployment is not experienced equally by all young people. At-risk cohorts are more likely to experience unemployment and for longer periods of time than their peers. They include;

  • Young people with a disability
  • First Australians,
  • Those with caring responsibilities
  • Young people from low socio-economic communities and;
  • Those without Year 12 attainment

Many disadvantaged young people experience individual barriers to employment, such as drug and alcohol abuse, unstable housing or limited access to education or transport, that compound their risk of unemployment.

To ensure that these at-risk young people are not stuck in a cycle of unemployment and disadvantage it is crucial to provide them with tailored support that takes into account the range of barriers they may be experiencing.

The Principles Framework outlines the key components of successful initiatives and is designed to provide a guide to organisations looking to support young people into sustainable employment. The ten principles can be used in any combination depending on the young person’s needs and the complexity of the barriers they face. The case studies and included Appendices in the Fundamental principles for youth employment report provide real examples of how these principles are used by programs and organisations that are successful in supporting long-term unemployed young people to secure sustainable employment.

Read more below about the causes and impacts of unemployment on young people.

Download the Fundamental principles for youth employment report (PDF, 1MB)

Download the Fundamental principles for youth employment executive summary (PDF, 208KB)

SVA acknowledges and thanks Collier Charitable Fund for its generous support in the development of this report.

*Far west & Orana, North west outback NSW: ABS, April 2015.