Employment pathways for young people require urgent rethinking, according to a recent study by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). The study highlights that the young should prepare for job clusters rather than aspiring to a single career.
To explain this reasoning, the FYA’s Maggie Hill addressed the Hunter Economic breakfast this month. Her visit came thanks to support from the Commonwealth Department of Employment.
FYA commissioned the analysis of 2.7 million job advertisements that provided insights into the patterns of skills that young people are being asked to exhibit.
The New Work Mindset report reveals that current careers advice is outdated in the new work order predicted. Much of the focus, when thinking about the future of work, is on which jobs will disappear and which will remain. This report shows the need to shift focus from jobs to skills to prepare young people for the future.
Young people need to understand the skills and capabilities that will be most portable and in demand in the new economy. The report says linear careers will be far less common in future. Young people will need a portfolio of skills and capabilities, including career management skills, to navigate the more complex world of work.
For example, The Informers cluster comprises jobs requiring skills in providing information, education or business services. With the right portable technical skills, a young person will be able to shift between roles in a job cluster. Additional training or experience would fill any skill gaps.
The report says that the focus needs to shift – away from aspiring to a single dream job to building skills to navigate a cluster.
The FYA research findings also highlight risks. Not all job clusters will have strong future prospects, which may drive unemployment and inequality. According to the report, young people need accurate information to help them make decisions about which job clusters they are most suited to, and which are likely to have most longevity.
The context and implications for young people in the Hunter was addressed by the HRF Centre’s lead economist, Dr Anthea Bill, and an expert panel.
The youth unemployment rate rose to 11.3 per cent in May, double the overall rate of 5.2 per cent. Anthea argues that this higher rate illustrates how young people are often on the margin – in part-time or casual employment – where they are easier to hire and let go.
“Relative to more experienced labour market participants, young people tend to lack skills, qualifications and an employment history,” Anthea said.
“That makes them particularly vulnerable during periods of employment contraction.”
The HRF Centre’s event explored solutions to help young people to navigate their path to employment in a rapidly changing world of work.
IMAGE | The Foundation for Young Australians, Maggie Hill, addressed the Hunter Economic breakfast.