Table of Contents

  • As highlighted in the OECD Action Plan for Youth, successful engagement of youth in the labour market is crucial not only for their own personal economic prospects and well-being, but also for overall economic growth and social cohesion. Therefore, investing in youth is a policy priority in all countries, including Australia, and requires concerted action to develop education systems and labour market arrangements that work together well.

  • Australia was hit much less heavily by the Great Recession than most other OECD countries, yet the labour market situation for young people has improved little since. After a continuous decline in youth unemployment rates since the early 1990s, rates have started rising again while youth employment has fallen. The share of youth not in employment, education or training (NEET) is 1.4 percentage points higher in 2015 than it was 2008 (11.8 vs 10.4%), with 580 000 young Australians out of education and work in 2015. Just under two-thirds of NEETs are currently not looking for work (the “inactive NEETs”).

  • The labour market situation of youth in Australian is quite favourable by international standards. Youth employment rates are substantially above the OECD average (66 to 51% in 2015). At the same time, rates of educational enrolment are high as many youth combine education and work, a characteristic typically associated with smoother school-to-work transitions. The youth unemployment rate in Australia is below the OECD average (10.2 vs. 11.6% in 2015).

  • This chapter presents a brief overview of the labour market and education outcomes of youth in Australia. The chapter starts by highlighting the importance of demographic factors for understanding youth outcomes. It describes the situation of young people in the labour market looking at trends in youth employment and unemployment. It then presents recent developments in school enrolment and completion rates. The chapter concludes by documenting the share of the youth population in Australia who are not in employment, education or training (the “NEETs”).

  • This chapter studies the profile of young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs) in Australia. It describes risk factors of NEET status looking at young people’s individual characteristics, the characteristics of their parents and the households they live in. It then presents an analysis of the dynamics of NEET status, describing the incidence and duration of NEET spells among young people. The chapter concludes by contrasting views and values of NEETs with those of other young people.

  • This chapter studies the income situation of youth and in particular NEETs, in Australia. It starts by describing the various types of incomesupport available to young people in the case of unemployment, disability or caring responsibilities. The chapter then discusses trends in benefit receipt rates since the start of the economic crisis, looks at benefit coverage among NEETs, and presents evidence on the duration of benefit receipt. The final section studies the incidence of poverty among NEETs and other youth.

  • This chapter discusses Australia’s upper secondary education and training system, especially its performance for disadvantaged and atrisk youth. It looks at early school leaving, policies aimed at identifying at-risk youth and combating school drop-out, and strategies to adapt services for students who are not successful in the mainstream school system. It then examines vocational education and apprenticeship in Australia, with a focus on completion rates and career guidance. Finally, it gives an overview of social services offered to school-age youth, and the co-ordination of these services with schools.

  • This chapter looks at Australia’s policies and programmes to bring NEETs into education or employment. The chapter sets off by describing the current architecture of market-based employment and social service delivery, and by discussing the challenge of co-ordinating services for at-risk youth. It presents strategies for reaching out to disengaged youth, and evaluates the impact of recent policy changes. It then assesses the coverage and adequacy of programmes aimed at reengaging young jobseekers in employment, education or training, and to provide them with comprehensive social support. The chapter ends with a discussion of the political framework for ensuring that the impact of programmes targeted at NEETs in Australia is rigorously evaluated.