Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

Posts Tagged ‘Generation Y

Gen Y: will work for free!

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The founder of Even It Up! (Diane Lee) teaches part-time at Tafe.  She has noticed a disturbing trend among Generation Y: they are working for free.

Example #1 – Jonah*

Jonah had found a job in a restaurant.  The owner wanted him to work for  a “trial period” for a week before making a decision as to whether to hire him.

Example #2 – Chelsea

Chelsea wanted to break into the graphic design industry, and a friend of  her family’s (who had a graphic design business)  gave her a number of projects to work on (with strict deadlines) as “work experience”.

Example #3 – Brenton

Brenton was keen to get an apprenticeship, so was working for a week as a “trial” before being “formally” offered work.  The potential employer was a friend of the family.

In all cases, Diane advised them that being asked to work for free was, in fact, illegal.  Interestingly, they said they didn’t know (we are pretty sure, though, that their “employers” did!).  More interesting, though, was that these young people  felt they had no option, with their rationale being:

  • If I want the job, then I have to do it…
  • It’s a friend of the family, so I feel obligated…
  • It’s only for a few days, and then I get a job at the end…

Even It Up! can only assume that there are thousands of young people being taken advantage of in a similar way.   And it will continue because of the power differential.  We doubt that any young person will risk possible employment (in this tough job climate) by telling a potential boss that what they are asking them to do is illegal.

* Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals


Written by evenitup

September 24, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Suck it up, jobseekers!

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Or that’s what our journalists seem to be saying anyway.

There was article in today’s ‘Tiser (pulled from the CareerOne website) where a Generation Y jobseeker was railing against the stereotypes that were working against her.   Her premise was that she was hardworking, and didn’t expect things to just be handed to her on a silver platter, but was still not given a go.  The Gen Y jobseeker was advised by the journalist that:

…in a tight job market all candidates have to deal with clichéd views – working mums, mature aged workers, new migrants and so on.

…Gen Ys must show they are willing to stick with one job, give their all to tasks they might not enjoy and be prepared to learn the ropes thoroughly before pushing for a promotion. Don’t dwell on whether this is a fair thing for you personally. (my bold)

And this is precisely the thinking that really gets up our noses because, rather than challenging the status quo, the jobseeker is basically told to suck it up.   There is an acknowledgement that it’s not fair, but there is no editorial questioning what can be done about it.

And why would there be?  Recruitment (up until recently) brought in major dollars for both the online and offline world.  Editorialising and interrogating the employment status quo by journalists would, in effect, be biting the hand that feeds them.

According to Adnews “revenue from employment ads, which represent a third of the classifieds market, fell by 12.3% last year”.  Warren Hogan, economist for the ANZ said that ” The number of job ads in March is now a staggering 44.6% lower than a year ago… Newspaper job ads have now fallen by 61% since peaking in November 2007″.

In this environment, it would be even less likely that hiring process would be critiqued.  Newspapers, which have decreasing reader numbers anyway, want to protect whatever income source they have.  According to Roy Morgan Research, Saturday newspapers (more than any other) have experienced the sharpest drop.  And guess where the employment ads are traditionally placed?

No wonder employment journalists are circling the wagons.

Written by evenitup

April 25, 2009 at 12:43 pm