Population is an issue that affects every one of us, but it can be a thorny subject to talk about over the dinner table! Many people have different opinions on the issue.
For example, should we be having small or large families? How many people can Australia and our capital cities support? Could we solve the problem by moving to the country or building more high rises in our cities? Should we have open borders or should we review our migration policies?
It’s a tough call but you can join Rod Quantock to give a hand.
One third of Australian youth are unemployed or underemployed. Gone are the days where most new graduates can find secure, meaningful employment. Casual or short-term work is the new norm.
Governments keep slashing funds for TAFES and Universities, making it harder for people already here to get the skills they need. Apprentiships and traineeships have been declining since 2012. Despite this, politicians are telling us that we have a chronic skills shortage and that a large skilled migration program is the only way to fill this shortage.
However, recent migrants and temporary residents have a higher unemployment rate than the Australian born population, and lower labour force participation. Many of the occupations included on the skilled migration scheme, such as accountants and engineers, are in fact in oversupply in Australia.
A recent study found that the job vacancies during one year in Victoria was equal to the number of additional skilled migrants in that year. This means that job vacancies were not keeping up with total population growth. Meanwhile, economic migrants often find themselves in exploitative work conditions and are getting frustrated that they too can’t find work to match their qualifications.
It is essential that Australia does not rely on high population growth targets to try and fill purported skills shortages. Instead, we should adopt stable population policies whilst investing in skills and training that our young people need for a successful future career.