Regional youth and jobs: who is working at what?

After a few posts that outlined the disadvantages of Western Australian rural and remote youth, it is a relief to describe employment rates.  One can still discern patterns which may limit regional youth’s opportunities.  However, proximity to growing industries like construction and mining give some regional youth obvious advantages over their urban peers.  At least if the youth is a young man.

Based on simple percentages employed, youth in the Mid West and the Gascoyne are about as likely to be employed as youth in the Greater Perth area—up until they are twenty.  Among school aged youth aged 15-17 years old, 36% are employed in the Mid West and Gascoyne and only 30% in Perth. Right after school, during ages 18 and 19, two-thirds of youth in the Mid West are employed (67%) compared to 62% in Perth and only 58% in the Gascoyne.  But between ages 20-24, young people in Perth are more likely to be employed; 71% compared to 65% in the Gascoyne and 67% in the Mid West.

The differences reflect the combination of training and employment opportunities.  Young people in the regions work during the school ages because they are more likely to have left school.  The Mid West has a high employment rate for 18 and 19 year olds because of the strong vocational training programs.  But the Perth economy is better at placing 20-24 year olds in jobs.

Well, in part-time jobs. One-quarter of young people in Perth, aged 20-24 years old, are in part-time employment, in most cases combining education and some form of employment.  Part-time employment is relatively rare in the regions for youth of that age (14% in Gascoyne and 13% in the Mid West).  More part-time employment might benefit regional youth, but only if it was accompanied by educational opportunities that would help them secure full time employment in the future.

What might put regional youth out ahead is that, if they get employment, it is more likely to be in industries with a strong future.  It isn’t all about farming and fishing anymore.  In the Mid West, employed youth aged 15-24 are more likely to be working as a technician or in trades (27%) than their peers in Gascoyne (22%) or Perth (19%).  Regional youth are much more likely to be working in the mining or construction sectors.

Of course, working in these growing fields is almost entirely the prerogative of young men.  Young women working in the regions are relegated to retail trade, hospitality and food, education and health care.

This is part of a series of posts on how regional youth are faring. The data comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s 2011 Census and specific information I generated from the excellent TableBuilders Pro program on the ABS website.

Thank you to Alan Bradley, CEO of the Regional Development Australia Mid West Gascoyne for commissioning this profile of regional youth.

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One Response to Regional youth and jobs: who is working at what?

  1. Alan says:

    I can only comment from the perspective of my daughter moving to perth for studies, but within 1km of Perth home she is seeking partime employment with Bunnings, Ikea, Event Cinemas, Sizzler, Coles, Target, McDonalds, all withing walking distance, but there is a functioning public transport service as well if she needs to look further afield.

    That does not even account for the numerous opportunities from the smaller retailers in the two larger shopping centres of Innaloo and Karrinyup!! Employment opportunities abound..

    Its no wonder the youth leave the regions looking for employment opportunites.

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