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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1998  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/06/1998   
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Contents >> Work >> Unemployment: Young jobseekers

Unemployment: Young jobseekers

Over 50% of the young people who were identified as jobseekers in May 1995 were working in September 1996. Around 25% had worked since May 1995 but were no longer working. Success in securing work was related to education and previous work experience.

Equipping young jobseekers with the skills and experience to secure work is a major focus of employment and training policies. The extent to which jobseekers are successful in securing employment is related to their education and work experience and access to training.

In May 1995, 146,000 people aged 15-19 and 160,000 people aged 20-24 were jobseekers. Young jobseekers made up about one third of all jobseekers aged 15-59. Close to the time when they were identified, some 70% of these young jobseekers were looking for work, 18% were working and 11% were absent from the labour market, but were likely to enter it in the near future.

Over the period from May 1995 to September 1996, young jobseekers had varied labour market experiences and some also attended training courses. In terms of outcomes, 78% had held a job at some time during this period, and just over half were still working at the end.


Survey of Employment and Unemployment Patterns (SEUP)

SEUP is a longitudinal survey. That is, information was collected from the same individuals (called the panel) over three years. The SEUP panel, selected in May 1995, provided a range of social and demographic information, including their employment history before September 1994 and their level of education. Interviews in October 1995 and 1996 collected information about their labour market activities since September 1994.

Jobseekers, the main component of the SEUP panel, were persons aged between 15 and 59 who, at May 1995, were either unemployed, underemployed (working less than 10 hours per week and looking for a job with more hours), or not in the labour force (but were likely to enter the labour force in the near future).

Young jobseekers were aged 15-24.

Labour market outcomes

Between May 1995 and September 1996 (the reference period for this article) jobseekers experienced one or more labour market activities. Based on these, jobseekers were classified into one of the following labour market outcomes in September 1996:
  • in stable work, in which the current job had lasted for three months or more and they were not concurrently looking for work; or
  • in unstable work, where the job had lasted less than three months or they were concurrently looking for work; or
  • no longer working, but had worked during the period; or
  • not worked, where they had not worked during the period.


Labour market transitions
The labour market outcomes of young jobseekers in September 1996 can be linked with their labour market activities in May 1995. Those who were working in May 1995 were more likely to find stable work (53%), compared to just 30% of those who were looking for work and 24% of those who were absent from the labour market. Of those who were absent from the labour market in May 1995, 45% had not worked at all in the period to September 1996.

YOUNG JOBSEEKERS: TRANSITIONS IN LABOUR MARKET ACTIVITY FROM MAY 1995 TO SEPTEMBER 1996

Labour market outcome, September 1996

Stable work
Unstable work
No longer working
Not worked
Total
Labour market activity, May 1995
%
%
%
%
%

Working(a)
53.4
20.6
25.9
0.0
100.0
Looking for work
29.6
19.0
27.5
23.9
100.0
Absent from the labour market
23.6
12.4
19.2
44.8
100.0
Total
33.3
18.5
26.3
21.9
100.0

a) Includes jobseekers who were working and looking for work at the same time.

Source: Unpublished data, Survey of Employment and Unemployment Patterns


A stable job
One third of young jobseekers (101,900) were successful in finding a stable job which they held in September 1996. Just over three quarters of these were in full-time work at that time. The most common occupations of those in full-time stable work were intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (21%), tradespersons and related workers (20%) and labourers and related workers (19%). The most common occupations of those in part-time work were elementary clerical, sales and service workers (30%), intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (25%) and labourers and related workers (20%).

Elementary clerical, sales and service workers performed tasks with established rules and procedures, whereas those at the intermediate level required a limited degree of discretion and judgement.

Unstable work
A further 56,700 young jobseekers were in unstable work. While some of these jobs may have developed into stable work after September 1996, in other cases, jobseekers may have ultimately left or lost that job or continued to look for work.

One half of young jobseekers in unstable work were working full time. The occupations most commonly held by young jobseekers in unstable work were labourers and related workers (27%), intermediate clerical, sales and service workers (25%) and elementary clerical, sales and service workers (16%).

LABOUR MARKET OUTCOMES, SEPTEMBER 1996

15-19 years
20-24 years
15-24 years



'000
%
'000
%
'000
%

Stable work
    Full-time
32.5
22.3
45.1
28.2
77.6
25.4
    Part-time
10.7
7.3
13.7
8.5
24.3
7.9
Unstable work
29.6
20.3
27.1
16.9
56.7
18.5
No longer working
44.7
30.6
35.8
22.4
80.5
26.3
Not worked
    Ended period looking for work
18.1
12.4
23.8
14.9
42.0
13.7
    Ended period absent from labour market
10.4
7.1
14.7
9.2
25.1
8.2
Total
146.0
100.0
160.3
100.0
306.2
100.0

Source: Unpublished data, Survey of Employment and Unemployment Patterns.


No longer working
Just over a quarter of young jobseekers were not working at the end of the period but had worked during the period. The main reasons that they stated for losing their most recent job were that they were retrenched or their employer went out of business (28%), their job was temporary or seasonal (28%) and their own ill health or injury prevented them from working (19%).

Approximately three quarters of this group (61,500) were looking for work at the end of the period, and the remaining quarter (19,000) were absent from the labour market.

Job mobility
Many of those who had worked in the period had held more than one job. Those young jobseekers who ended the period in unstable work were also the most likely to have changed jobs during the period; 26% had worked in three or more jobs and 33% in two jobs

NUMBER OF JOBS HELD: LABOUR MARKET OUTCOME, SEPTEMBER 1996
Source: Unpublished data, Survey of Employment and Unemployment Patterns.


Young jobseekers who had not worked
There were 67,000 young jobseekers (22%) who did not work during the period from May 1995 to September 1996. Of these, 42,000 ended the period looking for work. The main difficulties in finding work that they stated at the end of the period were: no vacancies, either at all or in their line of work (24%); insufficient work experience (21%); lack of necessary education, training or skills (20%); and transport problems (14%).

The remaining 25,000 young jobseekers ended the period absent from the labour market. Their most common main activities at this time were home duties/child care (45%) and study (31%). In total, 71% of this group were women, of whom 60% stated home duties/child care as their main activity while absent from the labour market.

YOUNG JOBSEEKERS' CHARACTERISTICS AND PROPORTION WITH TABLE WORK OUTCOMES

15-19 years
20-24 years
Total 15-24 years
Total 15-24 years
Proportion in stable work in September 1996
%
%
%
'000
%

Educational attainment at September 1995
    Still at school
6.2
0.0
2.9
9.0
27.9*
    Post-school qualifications completed
10.6
33.4
22.5
69.0
46.5
    No post-school qualifications completed
      Attended highest level of secondary school
29.6
27.3
28.4
86.9
38.6
      Did not attend highest level of secondary school
53.7
39.3
46.2
141.4
23.9
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
306.2
33.3
Employment history before September 1994
    Worked full-time work only
14.4
33.9
24.6
75.3
37.4
    Worked part-time work only
30.0
19.1
24.3
74.3
36.9
    Worked both full-time and part-time
13.2
31.1
22.6
69.1
38.4
    Had not worked
42.4
15.7
28.4
87.1
22.7
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
306.2
33.3

Source: Unpublished data, Survey of Employment and Unemployment Patterns.


Educational attainment
There were many factors associated with the labour market outcomes of young jobseekers. One of these was their educational attainment. Jobseekers with low levels of educational attainment were less successful in finding stable work. Those who had not attended the highest level of secondary school were the least likely to have found a stable job by September 1996 (24%), compared to 39% of those who had attended the highest level of secondary school.

Prospects were more favourable for those with post-school qualifications. By September 1996, 46% of these were in stable work.

Labour market history
Young jobseekers who had some work experience before September 1994 (the start of the reference period of the survey) appeared to have better chances of finding stable work. Of those who had worked before September 1994, 38% found stable work, compared to 23% of those who had not previously worked.

Because they were older, and may have had a longer period to participate in the labour market, jobseekers aged 20-24 were more likely to have had previous work experience than jobseekers aged 15-19. Of those aged 15-19, 58% had worked before September 1994, compared to 84% of those aged 20-24.

Another factor associated with young jobseekers' labour market outcomes was their history of looking for work. Young jobseekers who had only looked for work for a short period of time were more likely to find stable work.

Of those who had looked for work for one year or less in total between finishing full-time education and September 1994, 39% had found stable work by September 1996. Only 24% of those who had looked for work for between two and three years in total and 18% of those who had looked for work for four or more years in total had found stable work.

Parental background
Labour market outcomes of jobseekers were also correlated with the labour force status of their parent/s, particularly of their father.

Over half (164,000) of young jobseekers were living at home with one or both parents in September 1995. For 125,200 of these, their father was living at home. Of those whose father was employed, 43% had found stable work by September 1996. In contrast, of those whose father was unemployed or not in the labour force, only 20% were in stable work.

For 154,900 young jobseekers, their mother was living at home. Of those whose mother was employed, 41% had found stable work compared to 31% of those whose mother was unemployed or not in the labour force.

Where people lived also influenced this relationship. In areas experiencing generally higher unemployment rates, both parents and children were likely to be similarly affected.

Jobseekers who had worked
Although they were less likely than older jobseekers to have had previous work experience, young jobseekers found work more quickly than those aged 25 years or more. After May 1995, the proportion working was similar in both age groups. However, 46% of those aged 15-24 had held a job at some time between May 1995 and September 1995, compared to 36% of older jobseekers. By September 1996, these proportions had risen to 78% and 66% respectively. By September 1996 more young jobseekers had found stable work (33%, compared to 29% for older jobseekers).

CUMULATIVE PERCENTAGE OF JOBSEEKERS WHO HAD WORKED AT SOME TIME SINCE MAY 1995





Training courses
In total, 64,000 young jobseekers participated in an in-house training course and 73,600 participated in an external training course between May 1995 and September 1996.

Opportunities for training at work were enhanced for those who found stable work. Of these, 36% had participated in in-house training. Overall, 24% of young jobseekers participated in an external training course, with those who found unstable work having the highest rate of participation (28%).

The skills from training courses helped some young jobseekers to find work or a better job. Of those who participated in an in-house training course, 18% attended at least one that had helped them obtain a better job, a promotion or a payrise. Of those who had participated in an external training course while they were not working, 13% attended at least one that resulted in a job (see Australian Social Trends 1998, Workplace training).

PARTICIPATION IN TRAINING COURSES, MAY 1995 TO SEPTEMBER 1996

Participated in course/s

In-house
External
Total
Did not participate
Total
Labour market outcome, September 1996
%
%
%
%
%

Ended period in stable work
36.2
18.0
47.4
52.6
100.0
Ended period in unstable work
25.0
28.1
45.7
54.4
100.0
No longer working
16.1
25.8
39.6
60.4
100.0
Not worked
0.0
27.7
27.7
72.3
100.0

Source: Unpublished data, Survey of Employment and Unemployment Patterns.

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