Generation Z: Life at 17

Media release

28 March 2019

Around 60% of 17-year-old Australians have a job while at school, according to new data released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). Many 17-year-old school students are also part of the new gig economy, with 8% undertaking ‘gig work’ like online tasks, babysitting and cleaning.

Generation Z: Life at 17 uses data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) to provide a snapshot of 17-year-old Australians’ study, work, and living arrangements in 2017, as they acquire the skills and experience they need to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

“The wealth of information provided by these young Australians via the LSAY program helps us to understand more about the key events in their lives,” said Mr Simon Walker, Managing Director, NCVER.

“For example, around eighty percent of 17-year-olds reported still being in school in 2017, and around thirty percent of year eleven and twelve students had studied vocational education and training subjects in year 11 and 12.”

The survey reveals there is still a gender divide when it comes to choosing year 11 and 12 subjects, with 85% of boys choosing mathematics subjects compared with 74% of girls, while 56% of girls choose humanities compared with 44% of boys.

New sections added to the LSAY in 2017 included questions on gig work, where workers are paid per task or assignment, transience and living arrangements, and social support.

The survey shows 96% of 17-year-olds were still living with their parents, family members or a guardian. New data collected on homelessness and unstable housing shows that about 3% of 17-year-old Australians had not had a permanent place to live at some point throughout their life.

“The LSAY is now also collecting important information on employability skills like teamwork, creativity and problem solving,” Mr Walker said. “These transferrable skills are crucial in preparing them for their transition to the future world of work.”

View the Generation Z: Life at 17 infographic on the LSAY website:

The LSAY survey program tracks 15-year-olds over a ten-year period as they move from school into further study and training, work, and into adulthood. It provides valuable insight into key perspectives and changes for young Australians.

The latest data from the group of participants who commenced the LSAY program in 2015, known as the ‘Y15 cohort’, has also been released today. Information how to access this data is available here:

About NCVER: we are the principal provider of research, statistics and data on Australia’s VET sector. Our services help promote better understanding of VET and assist policy-makers, practitioners, industry, training providers, and students to make informed decisions.

Enquiries: Helen Wildash, PR and Social Media Officer M: +61 8 8230 8418 E: