Youth unemployment in Australia is reaching crisis levels as more and more school leavers fail to find work.

The future looks bleak for over 1.6 million 15 to 24-year-olds looking for jobs, as new ABS data shows youth unemployment rising at 12.2 per cent nation-wide.

Tony Nicholson, Brotherhood of St Laurence’s executive director – who analysed the results – says the data shows a crisis Australians cannot afford to ignore.

The organisation provided the visual hotspots for youth unemployment by individual state breakdowns (pictured below).


“Youth unemployment as high as 21 per cent in some areas of our country [Burnie and Devonport in West and North West Tasmania] is a scandal for our young people, our communities and our economy,” he says.

“It’s a disaster for our young people who want to work but are getting locked out of the workforce and locked into welfare dependency because they have no choice.

“It’s a disaster for communities, leading to more homelessness and despair for young people and their families.

“And it’s a disaster for the national economy and for taxpayers who will end up paying the bill. It’s time to invest now in our young people so they can contribute to society. Young people tell us all the time that they want to work.”

To help combat the rising unemployment, The Brotherhood of St Laurence has launched the ‘My Chance, Our Future’ campaign to highlight youth unemployment so Australians can start tackling the crisis together.

Former News Ltd Australia chief John Hartigan has backed the campaign, and expressed his strong concern about the impact of youth unemployment in communities across the nation.

“Make no mistake: no skills, no job, no quality of life,” Hartigan warns.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to tackle these issues, a new online job board is committed to helping youth not only get a job, but give them tips, tools, workshops, resources and a positive attitude in the difficult times they are facing.

Launched in October 2013, founder and CEO Cherie Thompson says she saw a huge need for the service and is determined to turn things around for unemployed youth.

She says resume writing is one of the top things letting youth down in their quest for a job, as they are not up to industry standards and are often littered with errors.

“We saw the immediate need to connect youth, parents, schools and employers in one place. The website features information on school based apprenticeships, traineeships, part time, casual and full time work,” she says.

“Our youth are really worried about their futures. We need to show them a brighter future now.”

Thompson believes youth can benefit from entering the workforce as early as possible.

“A part-time job develops workplace skills, knowledge, confidence and a competitive edge and prepares them for life when they leave school.

“How will youth know what they enjoy and what industry they’d like to work in if they don’t experience it?” she adds.

Thompson says parents should encourage and support a positive entry to the workforce for their children.

“Parents can help by being a good role model themselves. Having a positive attitude to work and a good work ethic is a great start.

“Have the discussion with your child about getting a job and reassure them that you will support them in their efforts to find work,” she says.

Thompson says parents should give guidance with paperwork, cover letters and resumes, but warns to steer clear of doing it for them.

She adds that having a discussion on the benefits working brings is a good place to start, as long as it doesn’t revolve around money.

Thompson provides five helpful tips for youth to consider when applying for jobs:
  1. Talk to your parents: tell them you’d like to get a job so they can help keep a look out for opportunities for you.
  2. Prepare yourself: check your appearance – do you need a haircut? do you have suitable clothes and shoes to wear to an interview? do you have a resume and if so, is it up to date?
  3. Be realistic: in your approach to finding your first job and to what types of jobs are currently available to you and when. Remember if you’re a student school should come first, so after school and weekend work will be a real possibility.
  4. Never underestimate life skills: think experience, confidence, self-esteem, communication skills to name a few, or where the job may lead.
  5. Doubting the importance of getting a job? Ask yourself this question “What are a majority of employer’s looking to hire today?” Answer: someone with experience.
Are you concerned about the growing youth unemployment rate? Has your son/daughter found it hard to get work?