A new report released by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, reveals the dramatic underemployment statistics we’re seeing now in Australia. They define underemployment as “having some work but wanting more hours”, and record that it is the highest it’s been in 40 years.
As of February 2017, more than 650,000 young people were unemployed or underemployed. The report also reveals that since 2003, underemployment has been more common that unemployment for young people. 377,000 people are underemployed, as of February 2017, a concerning number that is often missed when counting our unemployed young people. The gap between hours being worked and hours desired has also grown wider, with an average of 3.1 extra hours now being desired compared to 1.8 in 2001.
This dramatic change in the landscape of the workforce raises serious concerns for our society. Does the work itself not exist? Or are young people being undervalued as workers? What does the future for our society look like, if our young people cannot engage in a workforce and become growing, skilled workers?