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Why is it taking us up to 5 years to find full-time work?

About 30 years ago, it took a graduate around 12 months to find full-time work after study.

Now, it takes closer to five years, according to the New Work Order report by the Foundation for Young Australians. Is it because work is harder to come by or are graduates just becoming pickier about what they’re willing to do?

In the ’80s, a career path might have looked something like this: study at TAFE or university, get an education, graduate and jump into the workforce.

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Now, things have changed. More and more people are deciding to travel the world before continuing education, many considering it an experience that is just as important as time spent climbing the corporate ladder.

“I kind of figured that when I got back from travelling and doing aid work in Fiji I wouldn’t be a CEO, but at least I would have some sort of career path,” says Amelia Ivers, a 30-year-old who just landed her first permanent full-time job, five years after graduating.

But it’s not just Amelia, and it doesn’t just come down to travel either. Since the global financial crisis of 2008 there’s been a significant lack of confidence from young people about finding long-term full-time employment, which could mean they’re becoming more creative about where their income comes from.

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According to the latest Future Leaders Index, out of the 5,000 young Australians interviewed, two-thirds were concerned about getting a long-term career-focused job, while 69 percent of people said they would be happy to pursue multiple careers.

The New Work Order report by the Foundation for Young Australians gave a few of reasons the working environment is changing and why we all have to adapt.

  • Automation: Machines are taking over the world, or at least taking over an increased number of jobs traditionally done by humans
  • Globalisation: Allows people to work from remote locations around the world
  • Collaboration: Which means people will be undertaking a variety of work opportunities with several different employers

While on paper graduates might take longer to secure permanent full-time work, this actually might be because they are pursuing other flexible work options, which is a good thing. It means people are adapting to the changing business landscape.

So, while it appears to be all doom and gloom on paper, with more than 30 percent of Australians earning an income from freelance opportunities, it actually looks like young people are just aware of what their options are and are adapting to an ever-evolving workplace as a result.

What do you think? Why does it take graduates so long to find work? Share your thoughts with us.

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