Youth unemployment is one of the rising issues we face in Australia today. The rate of unemployment amongst people aged 15-24 currently sits around 12.5 per cent – twice as much as the general rate.
There are multiple factors contributing to this statistic. Younger people tend to combine work and study. They also tend to be employed in sectors that are more cyclical, such as retail.
However, perhaps the most worrying contributor of youth unemployment is the gap that exists between tertiary study and full-time work. While there has been an increase in the amount of people pursuing a university education, it has simultaneously become harder for graduates to find a job after school.
This suggests a prevalent mismatch between the skills gained from a university education and the skills needed to thrive in the workplace. So what can we do about this?
The theory and hard skills earned from university are valuable, but employability requires more than this. It’s no longer the case that you can just finish a degree with a strong academic record and be guaranteed a graduate role.
Softs skills and experience are incredibly important components of employability. Due to advancements in technology, jobs are prone to change – and hard skills with them. The job market has changed dramatically and still continues to.
Developing skills and experiences that are transferrable is essential for showing your potential value as an employee. Getting rid of the mindset that full-time university study easily transfers to full-time study is important.
University should be seen, instead, as a way to build the foundations of your career through knowledge, fostering connections, and developing interpersonal skills.
Encouraging future planning
Thinking ahead and having foresight about your future career can give you a direction for your efforts. Having an end goal for the job you want will advise you on the skills and experience you should develop.
It’s become more often the case that the degree we study does not lead us to a specific career. Understanding how what we study will play out in the future, and how to supplement it in order to get where we want to be is important.
This will help the transition from studying to working, as you will become a more suitable candidate for the role you are pursuing, bridging the gap between your skills and the employment criteria.
Getting in the field
Gaining practical experience is a huge advantage that will benefit you in multiple ways. Having exposure to the day-to-day activities of a firm will allow you to discern whether it is truly what you want to do – and show any future employer that you have relevant experience under your belt!
However, it can be difficult to navigate the search for practical experience. Especially as many internships out there don’t actively engage the intern in the important practical activities.
Traditional job searches are phasing out, and new platforms which aim to bridge the divide between employers and students seeking work are in. These platforms, such as Premium Graduate, offer benefits to both parties. Through a training program, students gain career guidance, interview training, and feedback on their resume.
Students are also reassured that the company they are interning at is safe, reliable, and that their experience will be worthwhile. As for employers, they are able to gain new talent without handling the entire recruitment process.
Through programs such as these, students can gain a better understanding of the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. This puts them in a much better position when it comes to finding full-time work out of university.
Improving youth employability is a complex issue that involves multiple stakeholders, entities, and changing ways of thinking. The ongoing development of new initiatives and change in existing structure is necessary to combat this issue.