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3 reasons Young Australians haven't left the nest yet

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

Gone are the days of moving out at 18; rooming with others or living alone before meeting your spouse and buying your first home. 

While only 36% of young Australians lived with their parents in 1981, this figure has risen to just under half of the demographic (43%) in 2016. Additionally, though more Australians are renting overall, the previous years have seen a decline in renters between the ages of 15 and 34. 

The newer generation is thus choosing to leave the nest later – and though many would attribute this to current housing prices, reports show other societal and economic factors that play a role in this rising trend. 

SkillsTalk delve into the three main reasons why young Australians are yet to leave their family home.

Why haven’t young Australians left the nest yet?

  1. They struggle to find work.
  2. High costs of living.
  3. Cultural practices.

1. They struggle to find work.

job interview concept

The right education can very well equip you with qualified skills for your chosen industry, but the reality of post-graduation isn’t quite as rewarding for many.

According to recent findings by the Foundation of Young Australians (FYA), earning that four-year degree has still left plenty struggling to find work. Despite more than 60% of young people holding a post-school qualification, our rapidly-changing economy has rendered once-coveted skills outdated and irrelevant. 

And in contrast to the popular, “lazy millennial” perceptions by the media – 17% of 15-24 wish to work more hours, though are simply unable to. 

This inability to secure full-time positions has thus led to many staying at home, saving on rent and extra expenses as they seek further employment opportunities. With our workforce raising its standards of education – plenty are now staying in tertiary study for longer, with “living at home” being a temporary economic option. 

These rising rates of unemployment however, cost the Australian economy as much as its youth’s future. Statistics show that unemployed or underemployed young Australians cost the nation around $15.9 billion in lost GDP

So – on top of evolving qualifications, what are the other barriers to employment? 

Studies reveal that there aren’t as many entry-level roles for the “millennial era”, having faced a 50% reduction since 2006. This has been attributed to the overwhelming number of job-seekers on the market, leading to higher competition.

Others believed that that they lacked adequate vocational and practical work experience; or the necessary interview and job-hunting skills

Fortunately, the rise of the “gig economy” predicts plenty of stable career opportunities among young
Australians in the years to come. With the lack of full-time roles on the market, many are now leveraging the digital world to freelance on platforms such as Fiverr and Airtasker

Our technologies now enable us to easily connect with online employers and clients, along with receiving and managing digital payments. Experts predict the growth of an additional 270,000 online jobs by 2025 – a solid alternative to full-time employment, helping the youth achieve the financial security required for their own, independent living space. 

2. High costs of living.

In addition to employment challenges, Australia’s high costs of living have also prompted many to stay at home for longer. 

By doing this, young Australians can save up for housing costs in a shorter period of time. 

In his interview with ABC Australia, 19-year old commerce student Noel Crouch shares his strategy in saving up to buy a property. 

With hefty rent prices in Australia’s major cities, both Crouch and his parents believe he’d be better off saving extra finances while living at home. This way, he can get into property investment sooner rather than later – a smart move with the nation’s increasingly prevalent “housing affordability crisis”

By moving out and delaying his ability to afford housing, Crouch explains that property would end up “three times the price, as houses get more and more expensive.” 

Though Crouch isn’t alone in his efforts. Reports show that affording their own home is a prime cause of concern among young Australians. Unfortunately, it takes an average of 8.7 years to save for a 20% deposit – and over 11 years for those living in Sydney. 

Evidently, millennials haven’t given up on the “Australian dream”, with 86% believing home ownership to be an important milestone. 

As such, plenty turn to their parents for financial support; living at home as they pile up their savings or even welcoming them to help pay off their mortgage, if willing. 

Of course, location also plays a key factor. Those living in capital cities are more likely to live at home due to costly rent and accommodation. Housing costs are statistically lower in regions of less than 100,000 inhabitants, leading to more people “moving out” in such areas.

3. Cultural practices.    

married concept

Lastly, culture plays a defining role in the practice of “leaving the nest”. 

Statistics show that young Australians with Asian, Middle Eastern, African, or Southern and Eastern European backgrounds are more likely to live with their parents – compared to those with Australian, New Zealand, or Northwestern European backgrounds. 

In her article for 9Honey, Jo Abi explains how in some European cultures, young people wait to get married before they leave the family home. She further describes how some Italian families choose to live within the same apartment block, taking turns caring for their children, cooking, and caring for the elderly. 

In other cultures (such as India), multi-generational households are commonplace; where one partner moves in with the others’ family, raising their children under the same roof. 

Staying close in familial relationships is thus the norm for various cultures – though more households are simply enjoying each other’s company for extended periods of time, regardless of cultural practice. These families find ways of sharing their chores and financial responsibilities; and are overall understanding of the current generation’s economic struggles.  

Additionally, societal practices have faced crucial changes in recent years. Families are now getting smaller, with women having fewer than two children in their lifetime – causing a large drop in Australia fertility rates since the 1970s. 

With less crowded households, families can now better accommodate their children living at home. Whereas the practice was traditionally a necessity with large families, it’s simply less of an issue in today’s society. 

People are also getting married later, with the average “marriage age” rising from 21 years in 1976 to 30.1 years in 2017. The single or unmarried therefore choose to stay at home – with less urgency to move out and start their own families.  

Upskilling can help you find stability 

There are varying reasons why young Australians choose to live at home, but if the job market’s your prime concern, it may help to enhance your current skillset.

As mentioned, the demographic considers a lack of vocational and practical work experience as a common barrier to employment, with rising standards of qualifications across industries. 

To enhance the skills of Australia’s current workforce, Upskilled offers over 80 courses in fields ranging from community services to information technology. Students can equip themselves with the updated, modern skillsets they need to survive in our ever-evolving market; with flexible, 100% online delivery suited to their work and personal commitments. 

Get the nationally-recognised training your need, and enquire on a course today.

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