Australia’s next generation of job seekers is worried it may struggle to land a job after university, according to new research by university retailer the Co-op and accountancy firm BDO.
The research, which surveyed 5000 18–29 year olds nationwide, found two-thirds of young Aussies were concerned about their prospects of securing a career-related job.
The results also showed a link between further study and career uncertainty, with 56 per cent of respondents admitting they were considering postgraduate studies due to bleak job prospects.
Despite being more “educated” than ever before, 84 per cent of the cohort felt their degrees had not adequately prepared them for life in the workforce.
“With so much competition, students are realising they need to evolve more,” said Hannah Soh, a tax partner at BDO.
“But the competition is great for employers – by the time I get to interview people they’re all amazing and really stand out.”
Ms Soh said BDO received over 1000 applicants for this year’s graduate program, with just 25 being granted places.
“It’s gruelling,” she said of the application process.
“We have a telephone interview, then a video interview, then a couple of face-to-face interviews. Then we throw an event to see how they go socially.”
As well as sheer competition, the report blamed changing technology and the end of the resources boom for the difficulty young people faced in entering the workforce.
The Co-op CEO Peter Knock said both employers and higher education institutions needed to invest in ensuring young Australians are informed, adaptable and adequately equipped to support the future economy.
“It’s obvious our future leaders are fearful of confronting life after university and the risks of not landing a job they can see themselves building a career in, given the current employment realties,” Mr Knock said.
“Universities and businesses need to start working closer together to ensure the degrees that are being offered are practical as well as theoretical.”
While skill shortages were highlighted as a major problem in mining and childcare, industries experiencing oversupplies included science and technical services and the arts and cultural services.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, with 43 per cent of students taking the initiative to find career-related work placements or internships.
This number was minimal compared to the findings of an Interns Australia report earlier this week, which claimed 90 per cent of young Australians take on internships, with just over 10 per cent of those being paid.
Ms Soh said long-running, unpaid internships should not be a necessary part of landing a first job.
“They should run for a few weeks at most and pay the minimum wage,” she said.
This article was proudly supported by the Co-op, Australia’s largest Member-owned retailer and leading supplier of learning and professional resources.