Generation Y, gender and labour market precarity

Date 12:00 PM 22 September 2016 - 13:00 PM 22 September 2016
Location Father Tucker's Room, Brotherhood of St Laurence, 67 Brunswick Street

Despite an ever-increasing investment in education by young people, the process transition into employment continues to be of widespread concern, creating what the International Labour Organisation calls a “crisis for youth”, based on high levels of youth unemployment.

Presenter: Professor Johanna Wynn


The dimensions of this crisis are complex, including the emergence of new categories, such as “underemployed” and “over-educated”, creating uncertainty about the relationship between education and work. It is now widely acknowledged that the ‘revolution’ in educational participation for women that began in the early 1990s has failed to result in a corresponding revolution in workplaces, as women continue to be over-represented in the lowest echelons of employment, are the most likely to be part-time and as gender segmentation within occupations remains remarkably resilient.

Drawing on the Life Patterns longitudinal study, Wyn discusses the trajectories of a sample of tertiary-educated young women to reveal the struggles by young women to reconcile their experience of educational achievement with ambivalence about the labour market. She argues that a more nuanced approach to youth transitions research is needed. Wyn suggests that the linear and spatial metaphor of passage and linear trajectories that informs the ‘transitions’ approach needs to be augmented with a relational approach.

Professor Johanna Wyn is Director of the Youth Research Centre in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne, Australia a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia and of the British Academy of Social Sciences. Her work focuses on young people’s transitions and the knowledge and skills needed by professionals who work with young people. Her most recent book (with Dan Woodman) is Youth and Generation: Rethinking change and inequality in the lives of young people.


View the seminar presentation (PDF 1.74MB)


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