More young Australians seek extra training to improve job prospects

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

New research shows more than four out of five young Australians are seeking additional training or advice to help find meaningful job opportunities.

Understanding Young People in Australia Today: Findings from the 2023 Australian Youth Barometer shows 71 percent have taken some form of informal online class.

Monash Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice (CYPEP), in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, developed the research. The comprehensive national study surveyed more than 500 young Australians aged 18-24 to gauge the pressures they feel.

The study found they had a clear vision for their future employment. Respondents identified the three most important factors to consider when thinking about the type of work they want to undertake as location (70 per cent), a high salary (68 per cent), and long-term security (67 per cent).

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Young Australians are also calling for immediate action on climate change, employment opportunities, and housing stability.

Findings from the 2023 Australian Youth Barometer include:

  • Nine in 10 young Australians experienced some level of financial difficulty in the last year
  • 40 per cent felt that they may not have a comfortable place to live in the next 12 months
  • One in five experienced food insecurity
  • 44 per cent experienced unemployment in the last year
  • 50 per cent of young Australians reported participating in the gig economy in the last 12 months
  • More than 4 out of 5 young Australians are seeking additional training or advice to improve their odds of getting a meaningful job

Director of CYPEP and 2023 Australian Youth Barometer lead author Professor Lucas Walsh said young people’s views of ‘being healthy’ no longer just relates to physical and mental health. Today, it includes financial security and access to housing.

“This year’s Australian Youth Barometer highlights wider concerns about the rising costs of living, housing unaffordability and the lack of stable and sufficient employment. Ninety per cent of young people reported experiencing financial difficulties in the past year,” Professor Walsh said.

The findings reveal that young Australians’ understanding of health is expansive and holistic, also including lesser-recognised aspects such as financial security and access to secure housing.

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“For me it’s being financially independent. I think that knowing that you could afford your rent, knowing that you can afford food … if you need to go into the office [knowing] you can afford to go get a coffee and lunch … knowing that you have a roof over your head is something that I measure for healthiness,” a 24-year-old NSW man said.

Searching for a sense of belonging

Only 52 per cent often or very often felt like they belonged when they spent time with friends in the past 12 months.

CYPEP researcher and co-author of the report, Blake Cutler, said young people bear the brunt of contemporary challenges.

“There seems to be a never-ending series of crises that make our headlines – the climate, housing, insecure work, cost of living. While these concerns affect us all, the 2023 Australian Youth Barometer indicates that young people are actively taking matters into their own hands. It’s a crucial time for us all to listen and take action,” Mr Cutler said.

Hands-on political engagement

Findings from the research show young people choose to be politically engaged through protesting and awareness-raising, rather than through formal politics.

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“You don’t have to just sit on the sidelines, you can do something about it, you do have an agency. You can get involved with charity and even if you only do a little bit it does matter. Individual bricks make up a house, right? That’s my perspective,” reported a 21-year-old male from the Australian Capital Territory.

The 2023 Australian Youth Barometer shows many young Australians feel their sense of control over their own lives is slipping through their fingertips.

Almost all (97 per cent) survey respondents reported feeling pessimism or anxiety. Many (41 per cent) said they feel like they are missing out on being young. Worries about their ability to live a happy and healthy life (41 per cent) and their ability to cope with everyday tasks in the future (41 per cent) also have an impact.

“Young people, like most of us, seek security. Secure accommodation. Secure employment. Secure relationships. A secure planet. All of these are currently challenged by multiple disruptions in recent years,” Professor Walsh said.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]