What can employers do to help youth unemployment in Australia?

When a country’s youth unemployment becomes the norm, it’s not long until it simply gets accepted as a fact of life. When this happens, people eventually stop trying to help. If something isn’t done, Australia will soon be in this position. The unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds currently sits at 13.5 per cent, while nearly one in five (18 per cent) are underemployed (courtesy of a report released by the Brotherhood of St. Laurence). At Talent RISE, however, we believe there’s a way to solve the crisis. There are a number of things you can do, as an employer, to help.

What can employers do to help youth unemployment

1) Partner up

It seems paradoxical that, while so many of the nation’s young people are clamouring for jobs, tech recruiters have trouble filling vacancies and face one of the biggest skill shortages in Australia. This can be resolved by creating meaningful partnerships with organisations, like Talent RISE, that will help to train up our young people at the earliest opportunity. This should involve employers identifying the tech skills that will be in the most demand in the next three or four years, and creating training programmes that reflect this.

Workshops that help young people – including those still in high school – to develop soft skills like leadership and creativity are also necessary in preparing them for future employment, and would benefit those that aren’t able to learn the often highly complex skills required in tech jobs.

Recruiters should still go further, however. It’s easy to push education, but if employers aren’t actively creating hiring programmes that target young people, the unemployment problem will continue to rise.

If you’re an organisation interested in doing something like this, Talent RISE can help – get in touch today.

2) Provide virtual work opportunities

Youth unemployment is at its highest in outback Queensland where, in 2016, it reached 28 per cent (as reported by the BSL), and rural areas continue to be hit the hardest by the lack of available job opportunities. It’s difficult when most offices are in the big cities, however the rise of the global virtual worker means this is no longer a barrier. If your company operates with flexible working arrangements, there’s no reason why someone in a rural town can’t apply.

It’s important to push vacancies all over Australia and make it clear in job adverts that anyone can apply, no matter their location.

3) Test for potential, not experience

If you’re using a simple CV check for experience, you’ll miss out on candidates who have potential but have so far been unable to get on the career ladder. Instead, test for critical thinking and innovation. Consider setting candidates a task to complete, whether this be building a web page or even just asking them to write 500 words detailing what they would change about your organisation. Someone might have the experience, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily performed well in their job, or will do any better than someone who’s just starting out.

Give candidates the benefit of the doubt. As long as they show they’re able to learn – and you’re willing to provide them with a little extra education – they might be your best investment yet.

We’ve worked tirelessly at Talent RISE over the years to try and create meaningful solutions to the youth unemployment crisis in Australia. If you want to get involved, please get in touch with the team today.