Half of young Australians surveyed said their education did not prepare them for working life.
Half of young Australians surveyed said their education did not prepare them for working life. Chris Ison

Most Aussie youth pessimistic about job prospects

DESPITE a 2% fall in youth unemployment in the past year, just 12% of young Australians are extremely optimistic about their future job prospects.

One thousand people aged 16-25 were surveyed by Infosys in nine countries including Australia, China, Germany and the UK.

Australia had the lowest sentiment score for job prospects despite there being much higher youth unemployment in the other eight countries.

Half those surveyed in Australia, Germany and the US believed their education had not properly prepared them for working life.

The report came after the ABS updated employment figures, with youth unemployment sitting at 12.1% in December, down from 14.2% in January last year.

University of Melbourne professor Paul Kofman said the study was surprising.

In his analysis of the research, he found despite the downturn in mining jobs, new jobs in services had largely offset the fall - a sign the economy was resilient.

But he said young Australians were still pessimistic about their job prospects, lacked confidence and were largely unwilling to work for a "start-up" business.

The Infosys report found just 3.81% of Australia's young people were willing to work for a start-up and only 10% wanted to set up their own business.

That suggested a resistance to the Federal Government's "innovation agenda", and a need to cater directly to young people to build new businesses.

"The desire for self-employment was low across all regions, but professionals in emerging countries were most willing to attempt setting up their own business," Prof Kofman said.

He said 77% of the young Australians surveyed recognised the need to learn new skills for their jobs.

That compared with developing countries such as China and India, where 60% were confident they had the skills they needed.

That pointed to Australia's youth being aware of "the need to continuously learn new skills".

Prof Kofman said there was a need to "move away from work placements" as a "screening process" for jobs, in favour of internships.

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