'Working through it’: a youth survey report on economically disadvantaged young people

Stream: Child wellbeing
Date: Monday, 9 September 2019
Time: 3.40 pm – 5.00 pm


Work insecurity and economic inequalities are growing social and economic problems in Australia. While jobs are largely seen as the safety net for family poverty, not all families are economically supported by a full or part-time income. Shifting focus from the household dimension of poverty, this paper draws attention to the multidimensional disadvantages faced by the young people in these families. To do so, this paper outlines research from the Mission Australia Youth Survey which compares the responses of young people who identified that neither parent or guardian had paid employment, against those who identified that at least one parent or guardian currently had paid work.

The findings highlight the potential impact of parental unemployment and economic disadvantage upon young people’s transition, particularly around post-school pathways, barriers to finding work, as well as their wellbeing. Although economically disadvantaged young people face many of the same challenges to their post-school transition and overall wellbeing as young people with parents and/or guardians in paid employment, the research findings demonstrate that these challenges are exacerbated for economically disadvantaged young people, yet their support systems to work through the challenges are more limited.


Jo Fildes (Presenter), Mission Australia
Dr Jo Fildes is Head of Research and Evaluation at Mission Australia. Jo holds a PhD in social policy as well as a masters and honors degree. Jo has worked at Mission Australia for 9 years and has worked on collaborative research projects mental health, housing and children and families. Mission Australia’s partnerships include UNSW, University of Queensland and University of Adelaide. Jo has managed many evaluation projects at MA on topics such as flexible learning options, social enterprise and wellbeing programs of Aboriginal children. Jo also managers Mission Australia’s Youth Survey – a platform for young peoples voice.

Jacqueline Plummer (Presenter), MIssion Australia
Jacquelin Plummer is the head of policy and advocacy at Mission Australia and leads the policy analysis based on the annual Youth Survey. She has also worked on position statements on housing and homelessness and submissions to state and federal governments. She is a member of sector advocacy campaigns including Everybody’s Home and a board member of Homelessness Australia. She previously worked in various roles in the public service and has undertaken study in politics, law and social innovation.

Erin Carlisle (Presenter), MIssion Australia
Dr Erin Carlisle is Research and Evaluation Officer at Mission Australia. Erin project manages the Mission Australia Youth Survey – the largest annual survey of young people of its kind in Australia – and undertakes many varied research tasks to bring the Youth Survey and its reports to fruition. She is also currently a co-convener of the Social Theory thematic group within the Australian Sociological Association. Erin has previously worked at Flinders University as a sessional academic staff member and has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences.