UNEMPLOYMENT / JUN. 20, 2014
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Graduate Unemployment Set to Soar

It is becoming apparent that Australian university graduates are experiencing immense difficulty in obtaining employment following the completion of their tertiary study. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, 30% of university graduates will be out of work once completing their Bachelor degrees. Many university graduates are left unemployed after finishing their degrees with many resorting to unemployment benefits because obtaining a job is proving incredibly challenging.

Downfall in Employment

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that approximately 65,000 university graduates will be without work four months after completing their higher education. Those searching for employment will be found to be earning less than the required amount, as announced by the Federal Government. The expected significant downfall in graduate employment has occurred simultaneously as student debts are predicted to incline with the deregulation of university fees and an additional increase in interest rates towards student loans. The Education Department has announced that unemployment is set to rise to 6.25% in the June quarter in 2015. Green party’s higher education spokeswoman Lee Rhiannon has exclaimed: “It beggars belief the government would introduce these changes when their own department’s figures show fewer graduates will be employed”.

The Sydney Morning Herald has further announced that 70% of graduates are predicted to have a full-time job within four months of completing a degree in 2016-2017. However, in 2013 it was expected that 78% would receive employment. Therefore, 64,800 new graduates will be unable to obtain employment, 17,000 more than estimated last year. It has also been stated that graduate salaries are likely to decline. Starting salaries for university graduates are likely to decrease from 78% this year, to 74% in 2016-2017. However, Education Minister Christopher Pyne has stated that there are advantages to obtaining a degree with graduates earning around 75% more than non-graduates. Hope still remains for future graduates.

Graduates Lack Experience

Former Macquarie University graduate, Frances O’Brien, has informed ABC News of her constant struggle in finding employment. O’Brien graduated in 2013 with a double degree in environmental studies and law. During her university course, she undertook numerous internships, both paid and unpaid with her longest internship being two years part-time. Some of these were paid but the majority were not. Despite all her efforts, she wasn’t able to secure a position with any organisation. The main reason she is being told for being unsuccessful in her job applications is that she lacks experience. She states, “They usually tell me I don’t have enough paid experience, but I can’t get experience if no-one will give me a job. In fact, quite often what they say just doesn’t make sense and sounds like an excuse”. Many of her rejection letters are automated responses thanking her for her application and explaining she hasn’t been successful. Throughout her experience, she believes government facilities are excellent at providing feedback. O’Brien is one of many graduates who are currently experiencing constant difficulty in obtaining employment.

Unemployment Benefits

With many graduates facing immense rejection from employers, they have resorted to unemployment benefits. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has stated in the Sydney Morning Herald that people should be open to employment that they are reasonably able to do. He asserts, “If there is a job available you don’t really have the option of failing to accept it if the alternative is life on unemployment benefits. A condition of receiving unemployment benefits in this country under both Labour and Liberal governments has been that you’ve got to look for work and you’ve got to accept any work that you can reasonably do”.  Graduates facing unemployment are faced with a tough challenge following the Abbott government’s first budget. People up to 30 years of age will have to wait six months for unemployment benefits and then will have to work for the dole. These changes are set to take place in 2015. Abbott claims that, “We believe in this budget. We believe that the measures are absolutely necessary for the long-term strength of our country and we intend to get these measures through”.

Thousands of Australian graduates are failing to find work that is relevant to their particular field of study. They have resorted to unpaid internships in order to gain practical experience with a return of a potential full time employment. However, as mentioned above, graduates are faced with constant rejection from employers who aren’t stating efficient reasons as to why they aren’t willing to employ recent university graduates. As a result, students are left with either applying for work that is completely irrelevant to their qualification or resorting to unemployment benefits. 

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