Publication Date

April 2006

Publication Details

O'Brien, M, The Youth Labour Market in Australia – Implications From Work Choices Legislation, Working Paper 06-08, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2006.


The youth labour market, comprising the age subgroups 15-19 and 20-24 years, forms a unique segment of the Australian labour market. The issue of youth employment has received attention most recently in 2005 in relation to industrial relations reforms (Work Choices legislation). Because of their relative inexperience, youth are seen as particularly vulnerable and in a weak bargaining position in the case of increasing prevalence of individual bargaining. We start with a review of the labour market for youth in 2005 for males and females compared to prime aged (25-44 years). We then explore specific features of youth employment such as industry representation, earnings and trade union membership, compared to the prime aged group. These results are then assessed in the light of industrial relations reforms in the Work Choices legislation.