Graduates struggle to find work

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Thirty per cent of young Australians are either unemployed or under-employed and unpaid internships are replacing entry-level jobs. Michael Hookey reports.


While doing work experience at Channel 10 during high school, Krystal Mizzi realised she wanted to be a broadcast journalist.

But after more than three years studying Journalism and Media and Communications at Swinburne University, she has had to settle for a temporary job at Flight Centre, working as a travel consultant and a marketing director.

She’s going to do a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University next year to further her experience and enable her to do the job she longs to do.

“As much as I applied, no journalism roles were making themselves available to me,” she says. “Every role that I applied for needed a minimum how many years’ experience and I just didn’t have it on my belt.”

Joshua Healy, whose writing is published in The Conversation, says that in a Graduate Careers Australia survey only 68 per cent of bachelor graduates from the class of 2014 had a full-time job four months after graduating. This was the lowest full-time employment rate for new graduates since Graduate Careers Australia began in 1982.” It was even lower (65 per cent) for those aged less than 25 years.

Tim Lamacraft, who writes for the ABC, says that in research conducted by National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders University shows that between 2008-2014, the proportion of new university graduates in full-time employment dropped from 56.4 per cent to 41.7 per cent.”

Money Magazine writer Susan Hely says in a report conducted by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) 30 per cent of young Australians are either unemployed or under-employed and unpaid internships are replacing entry-level jobs. Certain industries, such as media, were shedding large numbers of professionals and 25 per cent of young graduates did not use their university degrees in the workplace.

Alison Branley, a writer for ABC’S National Reporting Team, says that in research obtained from the New South Wales Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards showed that 521 trainee teachers in 2015 failed requirements of a new national accreditation system mainly because they could not find sufficient work within a three- to five-year period.

Since 2010, NSW has lost “almost 3000 teachers from its books, and the numbers have been rising”. This had meant up to 40 per cent of teacher graduates were not able to find work within four months of graduation.

Lauren Wilson, social affairs writer for, says that the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation has estimated that in South Australia alone, 280 nurse and midwife graduates were unable to secure jobs after university last year.

In Queensland, only 600 of 2500 nursing graduates were able to secure jobs this year. In Victoria, 800 nurse and midwife graduates were unable toget jobs last year and in Tasmania, 60 per cent of nursing graduates were unable to find work in the same period.

Also, Health Workforce Australia has estimated that 1100 new nurse and midwife graduates will be unable to find positions this year, and around 1500 graduate enrolled nurses will miss out on a permanent position.

Felicity Wilson, who writes for Lawyers Weekly, says that in a 2014 report conducted by Graduate Careers Australia shows one quarter of law graduates who wanted a full-time job could not find one within four months of graduating last year, up from 21.5 per cent in 2013.

Charmaine Cheok, a Bachelor of Business and Economics student at the University of Tasmania, says she has struggled to find a job because she has not been able to get an interview and that “most jobs require either a permanent residency (PR) or Australian residency”.

She says the reason why graduates struggle to find a job once they graduate is because they lack experience in the particular field they want to work in. They also “do not volunteer and therefore do not have the relevant skills (e.g. interpersonal skills), [which] are developed through volunteering”.

Krystal Mizzi says the reason graduates struggle to find a job once they graduate is because they just don’t have the experience in the workforce or in the field that they’re working in [or] that they would like to get into. “Employers really want to hire someone with a little bit more experience as supposed to just a university graduate. We can’t offer all that much.”

Mizzi says a way students could get a full-time job once they graduate is through work placement. She says that with “nursing and teaching, they have a really strong emphasis on placement, most of the teaching year is doing a lot of placement and a lot more courses should be like that.”

“If students were getting out into the workforce, whether they’re getting paid for it or not, they’re getting that experience that can go on their résumé,” she says. “They’re meeting people. Their connections are growing. It’s definitely going to help people find more work.”

Cheok says that a way students could a get a full-time job once they finish is by applying for internships even if they are not being paid to get more experience in their particular field,” she says. “Volunteer as much as you can in university because all the skills you develop in volunteering will come in handy when you start working.”


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