LSAY offers unique glimpse into generational change

Media release

15 October 2020

Data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) is now available across 3 decades, offering a unique glimpse into how youth transitions in Australia have changed across a generation.

The release of data from the final interviews for the fifth group of LSAY participants, who commenced taking their surveys in 2009, marks a huge milestone for the survey program.

“LSAY follows young people from their mid-teens to their mid-twenties as they move from school into further study and training, work, and into adulthood” said Simon Walker, Managing Director, NCVER, who have managed the LSAY survey program since 2007.

“The data paints a remarkable picture of how different the working world is for youth today when compared with previous generations.

“For instance, young people are finding it significantly harder to secure full-time work today than they were 10 years ago and are coming up against more and more barriers while looking for a job.

“What LSAY shows us is the impact these factors have on young Australians as they try to make their way in the world, which will become increasingly relevant as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The latest data has been used to create Life at 25: then & now; a snapshot of how study, training and work have changed for Australians aged 25 in 2019 when compared with those of the same age in 2009.

It shows that significantly higher proportions of unemployed 25-year-olds are reporting a range of challenges while looking for work, including lack of suitable education or skills, poor health or low self-esteem.

"Job shortages and a lack of work experience continue to be the biggest barriers reported by unemployed young people when looking for a job, but it’s interesting to see how many other factors are coming into play now,” Mr Walker said.

“For instance, 53 per cent of unemployed young people in 2019 reported a lack of confidence and low self-esteem as a barrier to them landing a job, compared with just 15 per cent in 2009.”

LSAY participants are recruited when they are 15 years old from Australian schools that take part in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and are contacted once a year until they are 25.

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Media enquiries: Helen Wildash P: +61 8 8230 8418 E:

About NCVER: we are the main 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.

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.