Teenage unemployment rate a disgrace


Two months ago it was twenty six percent of teenagers 15-19 who were looking for work, now that figure has risen to twenty eight percent in the same age group.

It’s not easy to find a job if you are a teenager and, if you do, to know how long the job might last. The fluidity in today’s markets leaves a lot to be desired and is rapidly festering on our youth an unemployment sore which is getting harder and harder to clear up.

It’s actually at the stage that those in their 50’s, with their own home and assets are the lucky ones; we’re looking at generations here who may never have that level of security.

And it’s not just here, the youth unemployment problems are worldwide and causing massive social unrest, especially in European countries.

So what has brought us to this day? What is causing these huge imbalances in opportunities for our young people which, incidentally, places huge stress on their families who are supporting them through awkward economic times, they are, possibly, experiencing themselves?

Do we say that globalisation has ‘tightened’ up the markets and not as many people are needed in the workforce due to enhanced technologies? Or is it the population of the world which has ‘overrun’ the number of job vacancies available leaving a huge chasm that teenagers are slipping into?

This all sounds a bit too simplistic to me. It’s about better business planning for the future and considering again youth employment rates which allows for experience on the job and a start into a meaningful life.

It’s about forward-thinking policies being put in place to look after the future, so that our youth have real incentives to stay here and not just drift across ‘The Ditch’. It’s a given that we travel –  Kiwis travel a lot.

It’s about companies training staff and putting the incentives in place so they donÕt lose them. May be a dedicated, young, trained staff member has half payment on a $60,000 house paid for them by the company they work for as a bonus for loyalty if they stay 10 years?

Got a better idea? How is your company dealing with skill shortages, not being able to get staff when we have this huge number of idle teenagers in our society? Maybe the swings and roundabouts allow you to hire someone on term so that your contract manufacturing job can be completed on time.

We have an election coming up in November and the leaders of both Labour and National need to show what they are doing for the youth, the future of the country. If they don’t have a vision, a picture, a plan what is Joe Public expected to do?

If there are no industry visionaries planning for success then just how does the nation get ahead? The Icehouse may hold workshops and conferences and share ideas, but will those ideas become reality? Will they train the youth of today to share in the future?

We have a lot of groups in the country, who at times are competing against each other, to maintain status, looking for the high plateau. They need to be slightly different in their philosophy to keep on going, to be recognised as significant. To focus on issues such as youth unemployment.

But with youth unemployment, they are frozen, they do not work together on the issue, they are not challenged enough and they are part… of the problem.

-Doug Green





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