Australia is fabulous country to be entering adulthood. Now is the best time. We have the opportunities to do so much. And yet young Australians have a bleak perception of what the future holds. The lowest of 16 surveyed OECD countries, yet actually the country with best prospects. By far.
What are the concerns of young Australians in 2016? The main ones are employment, climate change, terrorism and war, the economy, crime and social irresponsibility.
Of all these the one our youngsters are most concerned about is employment. Will they be able to earn a living?
Don’t let them be despondent about these things. They have always been around, and always will be. Know that they are part of life, and deal with them.
Everything but Employment
These are not to be worried about. Be aware. Be concerned. But don’t let them get you down.
The state of the world is as it is. You can’t do anything about it. Well, you can, but that’s not what I’m on about today.
Climate change is in the hands of the politicians. We can boycott. We can vote. We can raise our voices. We can be careful about our actions and behaviour. And we should. But in the end world governments and big business will determine our fate. We can’t even really take precautions. But while a cataclysmic change in climate would lead to a dramatic change in so many ways, we can adapt to change.
Even though our national and global economies are in the hands of the same people, we can make our own lives more secure. Commodity prices are rising again. Who can say what the future holds? But by being sensible with what they earn, the children of Australia will be able to stay solid when times are hard, and flourish when times are good.
It would be naïve to think that because we have no borders and we are miles from anywhere that we are safe from global violence and strife. Or to think that what goes on in the middle east does not concern or affect us. Who can remember a time when there hasn’t been conflict somewhere? It has rarely prevented Australians from seeing a bright future.
Crime rates are falling. Quite possibly related to the increase in imprisonment. The rates of violent crimes have dropped significantly. But domestic violence, sexual assault and drug offences have risen a little. The really good news is that the big drop is in young offenders (information and chart from ABS.). This suggests that young Australians are turning away from crime, and the crime rate will continue to drop.
Kids have to learn social responsibility at home and at school, and to let others know that it is not acceptable. And this is being done. Generally in Australia our citizens are socially aware and considerate of others. Poor public behaviour is often seen, but it is not the norm.
All these things exist and are a cause for concern. Usually when they do happen they are devastating. But most young Australians don’t encounter them or can be taught adapt.
This is the one to worry about least of all.
Unless we experience an economic catastrophe, most young Australians today will will be able to make a living. Yes, and support a family, and yes, even buy a place to live.
The only thing that can hold them back is their attitude.
By this I mean that they need to know and believe that they will get a job. A good life won’t be handed to them. We didn’t get it. Nor the generations before us. If they learn to put in, they will reap the rewards.
This is what they need to do.
- Know that they will get a job.
How do I know this?
- Youth unemployment in Australia is relatively low (compared to other OECD countries) and getting lower.
- In the last few year the mining and manufacturing industries have shed thousands of jobs, with very little impact on our employment status.
- There are many new industries that didn’t even exist not so long ago, and they are hungry for young people to feed them.
- Know that their job is unlikely to be in one of the traditional areas of unskilled labour.
They have to acquire a skill. That does NOT mean they have to go to university.
In August last year the ABC reported that 60% of Australian students are training for jobs that will not exist in the future. Did you hear that? 60% ! Mostly due to automation.
I am not going to list all the job possibilities here. They can find them by themselves. Make sure they look for something that is not going to be automated. Job Outlook is a good place to start.
- Don’t expect to get a high-paying job first up.
Be grateful for any job you get. While it is true that there some dead-end jobs, your first job is your first step towards something better. You won’t get a lot of money because you won’t generate a lot of income for your employer. This is where you start learning. As you become worth more, you will get paid more.
- Put in the effort.
Nothing is going to be handed to them. The world doesn’t owe them employment. They have to learn. They have to present well. They have to work hard when they get a job.
There’s plenty more, but this article isn’t about how to get a job. I’ll do that one later.
What I want to say is
‘Don’t be pessimistic about the future’.
Really, this is an exciting time to be a young person in Australia starting out. I am envious.
If you can’t see the bright side, then polish up the dull side.
Sources for this article and further reading if you are interested.
Infosys article by Dr Vishal Sikka. Well researched.Well written. Very optimistic.
Careers that are on the up at careersfaqs.com.au
Optimistic University of Melbourne article on reducing youth unemployment