Pandemic 'scarring' young job seekers

·2-min read

Young Australians' employment prospects face "scarring" from extra hurdles as they try to re-enter a recovering jobs market.

A new study from research group the e61 Institute shows young Australians' long-term employment prospects are being hurt by two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These barriers include struggling to find a good match for their first job, time between jobs due to the pandemic, those who haven't been studying, and the psychological toll of the outbreak.

The effects of the recession on employment are even worse for those who have been previously unemployed, people with a disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The study, in partnership with the Paul Ramsay Foundation, urges more support for young people to help them back into the labour market following the coronavirus-induced recession.

"We know from previous economic recessions that young people can suffer serious long-term negative impacts to their job prospects for up to a decade after the initial economic shock," the foundation's acting head Professor Kristy Muir said.

The report describes the impact of the economic downturn as "scarring" which means the impacts would last for years.

Young jobseekers could be matched with an unsuitable job, delaying their career progression which impacts future wages.

The time spent out of work means young unemployed people have fewer skills, or are rusty with existing ones, and they may face stigma from employers for being out of work.

Interruptions to education also mean younger people have had fewer chances to develop the skills employers are looking for.

The recession's psychological toll also meant young Australians could be more pessimistic about their employment prospects and be less motivated.

"Effective policy interventions to reduce scarring must target barriers that effectively shut young individuals out of work or educational opportunities," the report said.

The report suggests more flexibility for apprentices, national standards for occupation licensing, "catch-up" courses to help people brush up on skills and improve disability support programs for the unemployed with disabilities.

Gianni La Cava, research director at e61, said economic events like the Global Financial Crisis showed the impacts could last for years.

'"And, with interest rates rising, governments tightening budgets and net overseas migration expected to normalise, this could be as good as it gets for many Australian workers," she said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting