Document Type

Journal Article


The issue of youth employment and bargaining has received much attention in Australia recently due to industrial relations legislative reforms introduced by the Commonwealth Government (WorkChoices legislation). Because of their relative inexperience, youth are perceived to be in a particularly vulnerable and weak position when bargaining over wages and conditions individually with employers, which is the crucial centrepiece of this legislation. The paper starts with a review of the youth labour market (15-24 years) in Australia and compares it to the prime-aged (25-44 years) market. Specifically, their industry representation, earnings and trade union membership are analysed. These results are then assessed in the light of industrial relations reforms introduced in the WorkChoices legislation.