On Monday night’s Q&A I watched as a fairly gutsy young graduate from Tasmania questioned Mr Hockey on the new rules around unemployment benefits for those under 30. I was pretty impressed. Obviously a well-educated fellow, although the Treasurer came back more than once with ‘Under 30s will earn or learn’, this man pressed, citing figures of (something like) 18,000 job seekers to approximately 500 job ads (in Tasmania). This guy wants to work, but understands the reality that finding a job in the current market is tough. So, under these new rules he asked how he would survive. The previous answer was repeated, with explanation that if he couldn’t find a job the Government would assist him in enrolling in a TAFE course or diploma. By the look on this guy’s face, I imagine he probably had a fairly detailed and lengthy degree behind him. Does he really need to learn any more at this point in time? Another young woman said she was currently in a public sector role and likely to lose it. If she was denied benefits (although Joe did mention a sliding scale of the 6 month wait, losing 1 month for every year worked which was the first I had heard on this), how would she pay her mortgage? The Treasurer seemed surprised that someone under 30 would have a mortgage.
My point is less about the budget and more about the impressive face I saw of Generation Y (those born in the 80s and 90s).
Myself, I’m a Generation X-er. We’re a whole different kettle of fish. I have however come across work places that have really battled to take on Generation Y employees with any great success. It has felt a bit like trying to put a round peg in a square hole. I have wondered if maybe it’s the hole that needs some level of change and adaption rather than putting the entire onus on the peg.
The ABS puts the ACT’s unemployment rate for 15-24 year-olds at 10.4 per cent. As benefits shift, along with increasing university fees – I can’t help but wonder if this generation will be made to carry a heavier load than most during this transition period.
I was happy to hear about a Forum run in Canberra today, working with employers on how to better manage their Gen Y workforce. Was anyone part of it who would care to share their experience?