Youth Unemployment Monitor

A key part of our campaign has been the Monitor, a newsletter which is a useful source of information and policy analysis. But it’s not all facts and figures. We present the human stories of youth unemployment and the challenges young people face.

Subscribe to the Youth Unemployment Monitor to receive each newsletter.

Nyadol Nyuon Leah Jing 3

Rising young lawyer Nyadol Nyuon reflects on her journey to enter the profession and the resources that she has drawn on along the way.

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In Australia, the COVID recession has compounded a decade of high youth unemployment that followed the GFC. The youth unemployment rate is now close to the highest level seen this century and underemployment is emerging as a major challenge.

Read the report (PDF, 133 KB)
YUM2020 Heidi Video Still

Heidi, 22, was working in the hospitality industry, managing three restaurants, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Learn more about the support Heidi received, and why she's hopeful for the future.

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December 2019

Sara Caplan

PwC partner Sara Caplan urges more employers to fish in a wider talent pool and go beyond traditional university qualified candidates.

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Car avoiding potholes in road

Today, 46,000 young Australians are ‘long term unemployed’. And, as youth unemployment overall hits 12 per cent, some 265,000 young people are in the unemployment queue.

Read the report (PDF, 133 KB)

Ben, 17, has discovered a satisfying career working in child care, a big U-turn from following his dad’s footsteps of working on cars.

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Csm Elijah Buol 620px wide a7af610b2d

Queensland’s 2019 Local Hero, Elijah Buol, says business must step up to help young people from refugee and new migrant backgrounds find pathways into employment – and belonging.

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Youth unemployment hotspots

Our latest data analysis updates the youth unemployment ‘hotspots’, and reveals the regions where young jobhunters are doing it toughest.

Read the report (PDF, 941 KB)

Jayda, 16, lives in regional Queensland. She shares the hurdles she’s overcoming in her search for secure work.

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December 2018

Banok Rind

Banok Rind, an emerging Aboriginal leader, draws on her experience to conclude that success for Indigenous young people is not always a clear path.

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Whiteboard planning

In 2018, young Australians are far more likely to work part-time than 40 years ago. Our report unpacks the latest data about the increasing number of youth who have part-time work and want more hours.

Read the report (PDF, 366 KB)

For Quaylin, working 30 hours a week on a casual basis as a swimming instructor falls way short of the full-time work he needs to build a secure future.

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March 2018

Laurie Oakes

Leading journalist Laurie Oakes argues that more weight should be given to the future wellbeing of young Australians in all debates about spending on their elders.

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Youth unemployment hotspots

Our new data report maps youth unemployment trends, zeroing in on 20 ‘hotspots’ that have the highest youth unemployment rates in Australia, and we do a state by state analysis.

Read the report (PDF, 540 KB)
James and Nick

Meet James and Nick, now 27. They are two participants in a unique study that began tracking the lives of more than 150 babies, all born in inner Melbourne in 1990. Do family and finances shape life chances?

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December 2017

Sam Mostyn

The chair of Citigroup Australia, Sam Mostyn, offers a business – and parental – perspective on youth unemployment.

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Writing notes

Young people are under threat of long-term unemployment. Data shows nearly one in every 5 young people in Australia has been out of work for a year or more – and it's not their fault. New research shows that unemployed young people are as assiduous in their job hunting as older job seekers.

Read the full report (PDF, 306 KB)

Taylor, 19, challenges stereotypes about young people looking for work and shares her experiences with training and employment program, Transition to Work.

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March 2017

Jimmy Barnes

Iconic singer Jimmy Barnes lends his voice to our campaign for youth employment.

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No through road sign

Underemployment – having some work but wanting more hours – is the highest it's been in 40 years. More than 650,000 young people were unemployed or underemployed in February 2017.

Read the full report (PDF, 306 KB)

Aaron, 19, is hunting for full-time work. He'd like to earn enough to launch an independent life. But in a job market where competition for entry-level roles is intense, he's finding it tough.

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November 2016

Alpha Chen

In the aftermath of his father’s fatal shooting by an ISIS radicalised teenager, teacher Alpha Cheng draws strength from the values of his migrant family – and hopes for a more inclusive Australia.

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Road Closed sign

The Brotherhood of St Laurence’s data analysis shows that 61 per cent of unemployed people aged under 25 lack a driver’s licence. This can be a major obstacle to finding work.

Read the full report (PDF, 186 KB)
Transition to Work logo

Our Transition to Work program provides participants with workplace tours and networking opportunities, to open their eyes to broader career paths. We partner with companies such as Mainfreight to provide these opportunities.

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March 2016

Catherine Keenan

Australian of the Year ‘Local Hero’ Catherine Keenan joins our youth jobs campaign. The one certainty today’s young people can count on is that their world will constantly change, the youth educator says.

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Youth unemployment hotspots

We have pulled together key ABS data to identify the 20 worst performing areas for youth unemployment in Australia. Rural and regional locations rank among the hardest hit communities.

Read the full report (PDF, 516 KB)

Shanna, 21, has only secured two short-term jobs since finishing school in 2012. She talks about the challenges she faces in her job search which is complicated by living far from the city.

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November 2015

David Gonski

Businessman David Gonski led a major review of school funding. In this column for the Brotherhood's campaign for youth employment, he reflects on how education and skills shape life chances.

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Walking up stairs

Australia’s young men and women are experiencing joblessness differently. As the two sexes face different hurdles in their job search, the 2008 global financial crisis continues to cast a long shadow.

Read the full report (PDF, 334 KB)

March 2015

Ricky Muir

Senator Ricky Muir writes frankly about leaving school at age 15, and the ‘soul-destroying’ experience of being jobless. He says the idea that ‘young people are lazy’ is a stereotype.

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Thinking young woman

The dreams of Australia’s unemployed youth are being shattered as the nation’s unemployment rate overall climbs. More than 290,000 Australians aged 15 to 24 were categorised as unemployed in January.

Read the full report (PDF, 333 KB)
Youth Unemployment Campaign logo

Tackling youth unemployment is a complex issue, but key answers can be found in our Youth Transitions Service which is currently motivating young people in unemployment hotspots in outer Melbourne.

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September 2014

Amy Rhodes and Laura Sobels

‘Let us be clear – youth unemployment is not a “young people” issue. It is a societal, generational issue.’ Hear from Amy Rhodes and Laura Sobels, Australian delegates to the Y20.

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Person working in construction

Analysis shows that by mid-2014, more than 15 per cent of workers in the 15-24 group were underemployed. This is the highest rate of underemployment for this group in the last 36 years.

Read the full report (PDF, 203 KB)

“I just want to get out there and work.” Kevin, 21, who counts as underemployed, talks about what it’s like to work 10 hours a week.

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April 2014

Ken Henry

‘I believe there is a special case for taking an interest in youth unemployment. It is concerning that more than one-third of the unemployed people in Australia are aged 15 to 24.’

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Youth Unemployment Campaign logo

A new analysis by the Brotherhood of St Laurence reveals more than 50,000 people aged between 15 and 24 nationwide have now been on the unemployment treadmill for more than a year.

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Catherine Livingstone

The Business Council of Australia president, Catherine Livingstone, declares youth unemployment ‘one of the greatest priorities for government and business to tackle.’

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March 2014

Russel Howcroft

‘I left school thinking I could do anything but not really sure what that “anything” was.’ Russel Howcroft, Executive General Manager Channel 10, shares his story of leaving school and entering the workforce.

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Youth Unemployment Campaign logo

Our new analysis of the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data shows severe increases in youth unemployment in many parts of Australia, particularly in regional and rural areas.

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Map of Victoria

Click below to view maps showing the areas in individual Australian states where youth unemployment has spiked most dramatically over the past two years.

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February 2014

John Hartigan

‘Today we are seeing youth unemployment figures that have reached crisis point’, writes John Hartigan, former CEO of News Limited in our first Youth Unemployment Monitor.

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Youth unemployment snapshot graph

The Brotherhood of St Laurence has pulled together key data to help you understand the pressing issue of youth unemployment in Australia.

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Troy, 19, had been looking for a job for over a year. Listen to his thoughts on how hard it can be to find work with no experience or networks.

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