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"I don't want to be in hospitality all my life"

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A historically high proportion of young Australians are struggling to set themselves up for the future because they are not getting enough hours at work, a new report says.

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Adelaide hospitality worker Adam Quinlivan works between 15 and 25 hours each week, but he would like to work 40.

The lack of working hours and the insecurity that comes with a casual job meant it was difficult to muster confidence in the future, he told InDaily.

“It’s hard to keep your confidence at a workable level,” he said.

“It’s quite distressing … no ability to save for any future sort of plans or problems.

“(And) you don’t have that security blanket to tide you over if you get sick.”

Quinlivan said he planned to apply for short-term contract work in the New Year, hoping it will lead to full-time employment down the track.

“I don’t want to work in hospitality forever,” he said.

He’s among thousands of Australians suffering underemployment.

The latest Brotherhood of Saint Laurence Youth Unemployment Monitor says underemployment has risen in Australia over the past several years, despite overall unemployment reducing.

In October this year, underemployment among Australian’s aged 20-24 reached 15.9 per cent.

In 1978, by comparison, 2.4 per cent of people in that age group were underemployed.

“Underemployment rates – as a percentage of the labour force – remain at historically high levels, despite recent growth in both full-time and part-time employment,” the report reads.

“This undermines young people’s ability to build strong financial foundations, and can have both short and longer-term impacts on their economic security.”

South Australia’s underemployment rate, factoring in all working-age people, was 9.6 per cent in September, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Brotherhood executive director Conny Lenneberg said young Australians today face job challenges that “their parents and grandparents simply could not have imagined”.

“The combination of stubbornly high youth under-employment and unemployment poses enormous risks, especially for young people experiencing disadvantage,” she said.

Using Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the report released today found 20-somethings were hit particularly hard by “extreme job insecurity” and recommended taking into account both unemployment and underemployment to get a better understanding of how people were faring.

The growth in part-time work was attributed to the shift towards a service economy – industries such as hospitality, beauty therapy, fitness, child care, security, sales and labourers.

“Australia has entered its 28th year of uninterrupted economic growth, but the prosperity dividend has not been shared fairly with our young generation and they face many new uncertainties,” Lenneberg said.

Youth unemployment for 15 to 24 remains “stubbornly high” at 11.2 per cent as of October 2018, while under-employment for this age group exceeded 18 per cent.

The increase in part-time work did not coincide with a rise in young people studying, either, and it could take more than a year for people to move into full-time employment.

Under-employment, having part-time work but wanting more hours, meant young people suffered in trying to set themselves up financially in the long term, the report warns.

“As a nation, we must intensify our efforts to tackle this deep challenge, and as a start, policymakers should move to offer all job hunters aged 15 to 25 a specialist youth employment service rather than the nation’s current fragmented response,” said Lenneberg.

 – with AAP

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