Published on May 23, 2017

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Do you know a young person without a job?

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Millennials in the unemployment queue. Here’s the scoop: It’s a whole generation we’re at risk of losing.


There is no doubt that a changing labour market has also left millennials out in the cold compared to previous generations. Economic Development Manager Jane Holdsworth wants to turn things around for the hundreds of young people who want to work in the Cessnock region.


“The (number) of parents I’ve spoken to who just don’t know what’s happening with their children these days, they don’t get it. The kids don’t talk to them anymore. They’ve got no control,” she said.


“It’s a whole generation we’re losing here, a whole generation who are jobless, depressed with no prospects. They don’t know what to do.”


Young people face higher risks of unemployment because they may lack the skill set and experience required to be competitive in acquiring a vacant position. Out of work, they don’t have disposable income, and cannot stimulate the economy.


Put yourself in a young person’s shoes in the Cessnock Region:

You’re young, you can’t afford to attend tertiary education, even if you could – public transport is limited and you haven’t been able to acquire your licence. Agencies continually fob you off into cookie-cutter training and unemployment programs without long term prospects. Disheartened by continual rejection, and no purpose, it seems helpless.


It is no wonder young people unable to find work are facing higher numbers of depression, suicide and anxiety.


Why is it harder for Millennials?

  • Traineeships or apprenticeships are scarce, and advertised jobs are few and far between.
  • Baby boomers are staying in their jobs longer or participating in a semi-retired state, meaning jobs are not always vacant or available for the next generation.
  • Casualisation of the workforce, automation and outsourcing of work to offshore employment agencies means an increasingly difficult future for young workers.
  • Traditional industry (and thus traditional jobs) are declining
  • Our region has added barriers of high socioeconomic disadvantage.
  • Some young people lack socialisation and soft skills which may inhibit them acquiring high expectation hospitality or service positions in our region.

Most employers would give a job to someone with proven customer service and experience over the young person who needs time and commitment to develop these skills.


Young people are perceived to be unreliable, disloyal or uncommitted. Yet a study by American company Pew Research also showed that millennials in the USA are not changing jobs any faster than Gen X did. A recent study by Deloitte also showed that the last 12 months has seen a change in how millennials approach their careers, with an increasing trend toward job stability and company loyalty.


The service economy is growing and needs soft skills – such as communication, people skills, a good attitude and exhibit high customer service qualities. Some of these skills, given a chance can be acquired through workplace learning.


Uncertainty about job prospects, increasing education costs and a housing market that is gradually closing younger people out mean that millennials are facing difficulties our generation may not have.