New research indicates that young people in Australia are not flourishing like they should. Skillsroad, a youth and careers platform, has conducted research and found average levels of wellbeing are not only affecting young Australians, but also the bottom line of Australian businesses.
Skillsroad conducted a survey of 13,227 young Australians aged between 15-24 to specifically identify the concerns and issues affecting the youth in relation to their transition from school to work, and to address the current concerns of employers who are struggling to attract and retain young staff, despite soaring youth unemployment. The census links average levels of wellbeing to high job turnover, the national skills shortage, increasing university and vocational dropout rates, and a myriad of employment issues.
“The fact that young people are ranking pay as the most important consideration when applying for a job shows that young people are likely to prioritise money over career paths that they’re genuinely passionate about, increasing the chances of them ending up in a career they don’t enjoy and impacting their confidence and resilience. Given, when an employee resigns, it can cost as much as 400 per cent of their salary, the cost of churn is a heavy burden for many companies,” explains Darren Cocks, Managing Director of Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA), which commissioned the report.
“Pursuing careers that are intrinsically important to young people is far more likely to result in engaged staff who enjoy their work, have fewer sick days, benefit from higher levels of wellbeing and are therefore more likely to stay longer,” says Mr Cocks.
The census also confirmed that parents possess a huge amount of power in shaping the careers of young people as they were ranked the most likely person to turn to for career advice. The data suggest that parents need to be provided with information and tools so that career conversations are positive, un-biased and comprehensive. These conversations need to happen early and present youth with all the options so they have the best chance of choosing the path that suits them, makes them happy—minimising the risk of a false start—and increases wellbeing.
“As a community we need to be mindful we are not pushing any one career pathway—whether it’s because of a lack of resources or a misguided belief that one tertiary system is better than the other—we need to encourage young people to find out what truly interests them and plays to their strengths” says Mr Cocks.
The survey also found that 52.3 per cent of young people still at school are planning to attend university, despite fears of financial hardship for some and a lack of jobs in some sectors after graduation. Only 15.8 per cent are considering VET pathways—including apprenticeships and traineeships—despite VET graduates being more likely to be in employment post completion than university graduates.
There data appears to be calling for more action to enable young people to make informed career choices by making a greater investment in educating students on all career pathways, their suitability to these, and how and where to pursue them to improve productivity and reduce employee turnover.