Leaders must listen to the voices of young people and connect them with jobs in fast growing industries to avoid the long-term employment problems experienced after the Global Financial Crisis, Tasmania's peak youth network says.
The Productivity Commission released a working paper on Monday detailing the effect of the GFC on youth employment, finding that reduced job opportunities had forced young people to start careers from a lower base, having long-term effects on their lifetime wages.
The paper also outlined how the GFC accelerated the growth in part-time employment and underemployment generally, while young people - aged 25 to 34 - with Bachelor degrees were "substantially" worse off in 2018 than in 2001.
Youth Network of Tasmania chief executive officer Tania Hunt said lessons had to be learnt from the recovery from the GFC to ensure young people were not left behind at a crucial stage in their careers following COVID.
"Young people need to be at the heart of the social and economic recovery," she said.
"We need targeted jobseeker programs to build connections between young people and industries that are experiencing fast growth. We find that a lot of young people are unaware of the fastest growing industries.
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"We also need to make sure that young people have opportunities for permanent work, as we know that youth underemployment is a significant issue."
Industries in Tasmania experiencing the fastest growth for the employment of young people include construction, community services and advanced manufacturing, according to Ms Hunt.
The Premier's youth advisory council was the main mechanism for young people to have a voice to government, but Ms Hunt said more opportunities were needed.
The Productivity Commission paper described the rise of part-time work as masking the true unemployment levels in Australia post-GFC. The decline in full-time employment for people aged 15 to 24 - the age bracket which suffered the worst during the GFC - was caused by a weak labour market, rather than a preference for more education.
"This paper has shown that the weak labour market from 2008 to 2018 is reflected primarily in young workers finding lower-scored occupations and earning lower wage rates than earlier generation," the paper reads.
"There is no evidence that young people who took lower-scored jobs found better jobs in the recovery."
The paper concluded that the generation seeking work during 2008 to 2018 faced worse long-term career prospects than their predecessors.