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Paid Work: Youth employment
Labour force status
In 1995, 72% of young people were in the labour force compared to 68% in 1975. While these rates were similar, the patterns within the labour force were quite different. In 1975, 81% of young people in the labour force worked full-time while 10% worked part-time. In 1995 these proportions were 55% and 30% respectively. These differences are related to the increase in educational participation of young people over the period. There was also an increase in youth unemployment from 9% to 15%. (see Australian Social Trends 1995, Youth unemployment).
Among 15-19 year olds, 59% were in the labour force in 1995. Of these 47% were employed part-time. For 20-24 years olds, many of whom had completed their education, 83% were in the labour force and of these 69% were working full-time.
YOUTH LABOUR FORCE
Getting a job
Young people often have difficulties obtaining their first jobs. They may lack the experience necessary to obtain employment or they may lack the knowledge of how to look for a job and the experience in presenting themselves to prospective employers.
In July 1994, 47% of young employed people had started a job in the previous twelve months. They found these jobs in many different ways although most (81%) approached the employer rather than the employer approaching them. 41% approached the employer knowing from a variety of sources that the job was available. 24% went directly to the employer without knowing the job was available and a further 17% approached the employer without knowing that the job was available but after consulting with friends, relatives, the CES etc.
The method of job attainment used differed slightly according to the age of the jobseeker. People aged 15-19 were more likely than those aged 20-24 to approach an employer when they had no prior knowledge that the job was available (43% compared to 38%), a reflection of the greater incidence of part-time work among 15-19 year olds. Those aged 20-24 were more likely to respond to newspaper advertisements (14% compared to 10%). Both groups were equally likely to have been approached by an employer regarding a job (19%).
In July 1994, 80% of young people who had started a job in the previous year reported that they had a preferred occupation. Of these, people who were already working before starting a new job were more likely than those who had been out of work to have gained employment in their chosen occupation. Among those who changed employers, 87% started a new job in their chosen occupation. For those who were out of work prior to starting their job, 73% gained work in their chosen occupation.
YOUNG PEOPLE WHO STARTED A JOB FOR WAGES OR SALARY DURING THE PREVIOUS YEAR, JULY 1994
Industry of employment
In 1995, the wholesale and retail trade industry provided the most employment for young people. This was followed by the recreation, personal and other services industry and the manufacturing industry. These three industries employed 61% of all young people.
The industry distribution of employed youth has changed in the last twenty years although in both 1975 and 1995 wholesale and retail trade was the largest employer of young people. In 1995 it employed 34% of young people, up from 23% in 1975. Youth employment in recreation, personal and other services more than doubled over the period, from 6% in 1975 to 14% in 1995. In contrast, employment in manufacturing decreased, from 20% to 13%. This structural change is related to the shift towards part-time work, particularly for 15-19 year olds.
INDUSTRIES(a) OF EMPLOYED YOUTH
Source: Labour Force Survey (unpublished data)
In 1995, 31% of employed youth were salespersons and personal service workers. A further 21% were labourers and related workers, 17% were tradespersons and 15% were clerks. As with industry, the shift towards part-time work has affected the occupational structure. Between 1986 and 1995, the proportion of employed youth who were salespersons and personal service workers increased from 24% to 31% and the proportion who were labourers and related workers increased from 19% to 21%. Decreases occurred among clerks, from 20% to 15%, and tradespersons, from 20% to 17%.
The occupations of young people vary according to age. In 1995, people aged 15-19 were almost twice as likely as people aged 20-24 to be employed as salespersons and personal service workers, or labourers and related workers. This is largely due to the availability of part-time work in these occupation groups. Conversely, people aged 20-24 were more than twice as likely to work as clerks, professionals, para-professionals, or managers and administrators. This reflects the predominantly full-time nature of this work, as well as people of this age being more likely to have higher educational attainment and more work experience, and therefore being more qualified than younger people to undertake such work.
People aged 15-24 are more likely than any other age group to change jobs (i.e to change employer or to change location with the same employer). This is related both to the proportion who work part-time while studying, and who therefore may have less commitment to a particular job than older people, and to the proportion who have completed their education and change jobs as they settle into the pursuit of a career.
In February 1994, 29% of young people had changed their job in the previous 12 months. People aged 20-24 were most likely to have changed their job (31%), followed by those aged 15-19 (26%). Similar proportions of young women and men changed jobs (30% and 29% respectively).
PROPORTION OF PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THEIR JOBS, 1994(a)(a) Refers to the year ending February 1994.
Source: Labour Mobility, Australia (cat. no. 6209.0)