Australia’s Youth Unemployment
After the Great Recession, unemployment has risen. Underemployment and long-term jobs have also risen. Young people have done worse in the labor market since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) than the older population. In Australia, youth unemployment and NEET rates have appeared to be lower than in much other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries and the OECD average, indicating that the GFC had a less immediate effect. According to recent statistics, Australia’s youth unemployment rates have risen since 2011, bucking the OECD’s overall trend of declining youth unemployment. The analysis of foreign data emphasizes the importance of policies and meaning for young people.
The political system of Australia has a great impact on youth unemployment. Differences in the political ideologies usually interfere with the employer’s criterion in recruiting the youths to different job groups. High political temperatures during the political campaigns frequently threaten both the foreign and domestic investors thus leading to the reduction in the youth employment (Bell, 2015). The media influences in creating a negative perception of unemployment in the country. It does not foster positive thinking and encouraging the youths to start business and projects that will generate opportunities for self-employment. The liberal voter ship was primarily made up of an older generation that is not concerned about issues facing the youth (Bell, 2015). Their major focus is on personal interests, and therefore they do not initiate programs and other projects that will create job opportunities. Consequently, paternalistic blame is on the generation and not the governmental policies. The government is comprised of people who do have interests of the youths at heart. Instead, they focus on personal gratification.
The unequal provision in Australia greatly contributes to the youth unemployment. As a result of the lack of appropriate skills, employers cannot find the right people to employ in different specialization areas (Knapp & Spector, 2011). Education often leads to the acquisition of the skills necessary in performing diverse tasks in the organizations. In some universities within Australia, the structure of learning does not often correspond to the skills required by the industries and although the students usually become proud after their graduation, they usually remain unemployed. Since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), young people have fared worse than the older population in the labour market. Youth unemployment and NEET rates in Australia have tended to be below many Organisations for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and the OECD average and showed less immediate impact from the GFC. Recent data suggest that youth unemployment rates in Australia have risen since 2011, in contrast to the OECD average trend of falling youth unemployment (see Figure 1). The review of international data highlights the issue that policies and context matter for young people.
Weak economies often tend to retrench workers in an attempt to reduce the wage bills. The deteriorating economies within the Australian markets often lead to the youth unemployment (Youth and work in Australia, 2014). Young people are usually the ones who suffer most in an economic decline. A recent National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) paper titled Young people in an economic downturn (Anlezark 2011) confirms that the 2008 economic downturn had quite a profound effect on the fortunes of Australian youth, and significantly impacted on their decisions regarding work and study. The paper reveals that young people bore almost the entire weight of the full-time work decline that occurred after the 2008 recession. This was due to some factors. As new starters in the labour market, young people lack experience and so employers are less likely to take a risk and offer them work. Also, the industries in which many young people look for jobs particularly young people undertaking apprenticeships are those such as construction and retail, which are most sensitive to economic changes. Hence when there is a downturn, theirs are the jobs that disappear. A decline in the economy also implies a rise in the cost of living which makes it difficult for the youths to make a living out of central jobs since even the cost of commuting becomes too high. An effect on the economy affects the availability of job opportunities.
There is a connection between the above-discussed structures a theoretical framework for explaining unemployment. Some of the theories include the capability approach, Marxs theory of inequality and unemployment and its benefits to capitalism, hegemony, and paternalism. These theories explain the link between the social structure and unemployment.
The capability approach has two significant normative claims. The first one is that people have the freedom to achieve that which is of moral importance and the second is that peoples capabilities determine their freedom to succeed (Youth and work in Australia, 2014). This theory can explain the educational structure where the youths have the freedom to acquire knowledge that will enable them to get or create job opportunities. However, the capability of the education system of the country determines this liberty.
The Marxist view of capitalism and unemployment focuses on the political economy. He argues that capitalists are always in competition to create higher profits (Knapp & Spector, 2011). They, therefore, lower their productions costs by increasing labour productivity that creates unemployment. After the GFC, most businesspeople who also double as politicians still aim to make profits out of a low-performance economy. They, therefore, reduce the number of workers and increase their workload to reduce production costs. As a result, some youths lose their jobs, and the employers do not create new job opportunities (Knapp & Spector, 2011). Eventually, the rate of unemployment rises while the profits of the business owners continue increasing.
Gramscis concept of hegemony talks about governance over groups of people. It presupposes that the leaders consider the interests of their people (Knapp & Spector, 2011). However, this is not the case in Australia. The older generation that is in power does not create opportunities for the youth to get into leadership roles and they do not care about their unemployment among other issues affecting them. The government should offer an education system that suits the needs of the people. The youth should have access to affordable and relevant knowledge and skills. They need knowledge and skills to start businesses and even create job opportunities for others. This theory goes in hand with paternalism, a policy where the leaders restrict the freedom and responsibilities that should benefit the subordinates.
The rates of youth unemployment have increased since the Global Financial Crisis. Many young people have educational qualifications and cannot get stable jobs that compensate them according to their professional level, and expertise gained. This social structure of the country which encompasses the political climate, education and the economy has contributed to this situation. The political system is made up of an older generation that does not care about the issues facing the youth. The education sector was affected by the GFC since 2011 hence affecting the youths especially those who had completed their education. GFC also caused an economic decline of the country which in turn negatively impacted the generation of jobs and hence an increasing rate of youth unemployment in Australia. The above-discussed theories create a link between the social structures and the youth unemployment state in Australia. They provide a framework for understanding the contribution of the structures to lack of job opportunities.
Bell, S. (2015). The unemployment crisis in Australia. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Knapp, P., & Spector, A. (2011). Crisis and change today. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Youth and work in Australia. (2014). Paris.