• Hunter Business Chamber

Survey reveals impact of pandemic on young workers

Mental health is the foremost concern among young people navigating the COVID crisis, with many saying they need better advice and tools to adapt to the changing environment..

This is one of the key findings from a COVID-19 youth survey of more than 5,000 young Australians aged from 15 to 24 by the Skillsroad industry careers platform, powered by Business Australia.

The Skillsroad 2020 COVID-19 Youth Review combined survey responses taken before and during the pandemic to identify areas of concern to guide policy makers, employers and educators. It included more than 300 responses from the Hunter region.

In a sobering picture of the impact of the pandemic on young workers, the survey revealed 42.3 per cent of the respondents had been stood down or become unemployed as a result of COVID-19 and more than half (55 per cent) were open to changing career direction to ensure job and financial security.

The survey showed young people wanted better and earlier career advice, with 48 per cent indicating they would benefit from receiving career information and guidance earlier at school and 69 per cent saying they wanted more information about the jobs of the future.

“Gen Z has shown remarkable resilience during this period of challenge and change but they will need emotional and practical support to emerge from COVID with hope and positive career prospects,” Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.

“We know from youth unemployment figures that people under 25 have been hardest hit by the pandemic so government needs to act decisively to ensure job opportunities are there for them as the recovery continues.”

With this week being National Skills Week, the Chamber has reinforced its call for government incentives to encourage employers to take on new apprentices and trainees, as well as providing subsidies for those already in the workforce.

“Without immediate support, it’s likely that 50,000 young people nationally – including 2,500 in our region alone – will be denied the opportunity of a new skills-based job this year and, leading to a significant skills shortage,” Mr Hawes said.

“This is based on estimates that last year’s 150,000 apprentice and trainee placements across Australia will drop by a third.” For more information, access the full Skillsroad COVID-19 Youth Survey.

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