Careers Update - November 15, 2018
author: Anthony Meehan
What young people want you to know about flexible work
By Nina Roxburgh (Foundation For Young Australians)
Research shows that young people are struggling to make up the 35+ hours a week equal to a full-time workload by the age of 25. Those who do secure full-time hours are often managing multiple jobs including casual, part-time, and freelance work.
A 15 year old today is more likely to have 17 jobs over five industries in their lifetime, making our career paths more like career webs or jungle gyms. This lack of job security and income stability, means young people face barriers to key adulthood milestones like moving out of home before 30 and buying property.
There are also opportunities for Millennials and Gen Z in this economy though. They can opt for a flexible work life with multiple jobs and no set 9-5, Monday to Friday job. They can travel the world while holding down a job in Melbourne. With the right skills and mindset they can move more easily between careers instead of working one job for their whole life.
These are the two sides of the ‘flexible work’ coin. So is this good for young people? Do they actually want flexible jobs over a stable 9-5 income? We decided to ask early career young people what they think:
Michael | 23
Ideally, I would like to work a flexible job that I can fit in with my own side projects and work that I want to explore in different industries. I want to be able to build my skills and knowledge in multiple disciples, industries and sectors. I don’t really see myself working in one industry or career for my whole life and only really learning one skill set. I want to explore and experience all the possibilities out there and build a portfolio of skills
Henry | 19
I would prefer a flexible job over a Monday to Friday job in my desired industry. As an aspiring entrepreneur, the flexibility of a job is important to me as it would enable me to work the necessary hours required in order to achieve certain goals at work. Sometimes, this may not be achieved through a rigid, fixed schedule from 9am to 5pm for 5 days a week.
I think it would also effectively decrease work related stress in the sense that you wouldn’t have to rush a certain task in order to get it done by the end of your shift. Likewise, with the necessary discipline, I believe my productivity would be increased through the ability to optimise schedule to complete tasks faster and hence promote a healthier lifestyle through allocating more time to socialise and exercise outside of work.
Aaron | 28
At the moment, I am leaning much more towards the idea of flexible work arrangements. I like the idea of both flexibility in how I work but also variety in where I work. But of course this changes depending on your responsibilities, and I am very aware that my preferences could change as I get older. I already find the lack of security in flexible work worrying, but can imagine it is even more so when you decide to buy a house or start a family for example.
While there are mixed views about the benefits of flexible work arrangements, it is clear that young people are concerned about their job stability, and the impacts insecure work have on their future-planning ability.