“He who masters the power formed by a group of people working together has within his grasp one of the greatest powers known to man.” - Idowu Koyenikan
Project Background
Workplace dynamics are rapidly shifting as Generations Y and Z replace older workers entering retirement. Gen Y and Z are also the most diverse workforce in Australian history. Organisations must find ways to adapt to a new workforce with a new set of needs, lifestyles, perspectives, values, and goals.

What is the YFEP?

The Youth Friendly Employer Project (YFEP) is an initiative developed by Maribyrnong and Moonee Valley Local Learning & Employment Network (MMVLLEN), funded by and in partnership with VicHealth, and co-designed by young Victorians, for young Victorians. We have embarked on the YFEP to improve employment, financial, academic, and well-being related outcomes for young Australians. The project also aims to help organisations and Local Government Areas (LGAs) more effectively attract, develop, retain, and leverage a new workforce moving further into the future.

To accomplish this, the YFEP involves development of a Youth Friendly Assessment Tool alongside an Employer Toolkit that would allow businesses, nonprofits, institutions, and LGAs, to earn a ‘Youth Friendly Certification’, either through passing the assessment or implementing changes in their line management or HR systems via our Toolkit and tailored action plan templates. We aim to work closely with partner organisations and promote their progress to the public and stakeholders in the form of the YFE Certification, which can be attached to job advertisements to attract top-tier youth talent, as well as assist with other attraction, development, training, and retention strategies.

In undertaking the YFEP, we have partnered and secured financial sponsorship from VicHealth to bring the project through its implementation phase in connection with their “Bright Futures” program to improve the well-being of young Victorians. The project’s second phase commenced in April 2019 and will be completed by November 2019, at which point larger-scale implementation across Victoria may follow.

Why is the YFEP needed?

This project was inspired by a number of large-scale issues that are affecting young people and across Victoria today, along with broader organisational challenges. These issues all have a potential to exacerbate if workplaces fail to adapt to the reality of what young employees face today, and in the coming years. This disconnect is what we aim to address.

Source: VicHealth Bright Futures, Youth Megatrends 2019
Snapshot: Current & Imminent Challenges

The purpose of this project is to provide organisations in Victoria with a set of tools and strategic frameworks that, through support and consultation with MMVLLEN, improve or innovate HR and other operational processes to enhance the ‘youth friendliness’ of the workplace. The importance of developing new frameworks of managing 'work' and a 'workforce' are fundamental and imminently needed, as major social and economic changes are on the horizon.

Challenges for Employers:

  • 56% of small business employers experience difficulty finding candidates with the right job experience.
  • 54% of small business employers have a difficult time finding candidates with the right skills, education, or training.
  • Demand for digital skills from employers has risen by 212% over three years, along with;
  • Critical thinking 158%+
  • Creativity 65%+
  • Presentation 25%+
  • According to the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), an analysis of current employment indicators suggests that if youth unemployment & underemployment were to be addressed and improved to a similar level as older generations of Australians, more than 125 million additional hours would be worked each year, generating an additional $11.3 billion in GDP to our economy.
  • Further challenges relating to this generational gap are highlighted in the infographic below (compiled with US data):
Source: The Measurement Standard 2018

Economic Challenges For Young Australians:

  • Youth unemployment has remained high since the onset of the Global Financial Crisis. The unemployment rate of young people (15-24 year olds) averaged 12.7 per cent in 2016, up from 9.4 per cent in 2007. Underemployment is a more significant contributor, affecting 17.5% of young people.
  • The full-time employment rate for graduates was 71% in 2016, compared to 85% in 2007. Around one in four bachelor-degree graduates work only in casual positions.
  • Many young people struggle to find employment in the field they studied and trained for, indications of a mismatch between study decisions and employment opportunities. For instance in 2016, only one third (33.2%) of VET graduates were employed in the occupation they trained in
  • Youth today are 1.4x more likely to have finished high school and 1.7x more likely to have a degree than their parents or grandparents. Despite this, relevant job prospects upon completion for graduates declined from 85% in 2007 to 71% in 2016.

Social Challenges for Young Australians:

  • Poverty is very real for many young Victorians, and is the second highest of all Australian states and territories. This is currently affecting 10.9% of the Victorian population; 526,600 people, many of whom are young people between 15-24.
  • Three in four adult mental health conditions emerge by age 24 and half by age 14
  • 68% of young people have struggled with their mental health at some point in their life already
  • 13.9% of young people (aged 4-17 years) experienced a mental disorder, which is equivalent to an estimated 560,000 Australian adolescents.
  • The number of deaths by suicide among young people is the highest it has been in 10 years, and is currently the leading cause of death among youth
  • Gen Y and Z are the most diverse workforce in Australian history. Around one in three young people adults aged 18-24 years report experiencing racial discrimination because of their skin colour, ethnic origin or religion

Young people evidently face a diverse series of challenges that in some cases are intensifying over time. The theory of change behind the YFEP is that many of these issues can be addressed or supported through through innovation and adaption in youth-friendly workplace practices, and in challenging systemic barriers young people face.

Source: Deloitte Insights 2019

The YFEP has enormous potential to expand and scale to private enterprises, government, and non-government organisations following this phase. Based on the outputs of primary and secondary research, alongside the feedback of young people and organisations we are working with, there is potential to help guide institutional change. Through collaborative partnerships, MMVLLEN hopes to contribute to the following 10 indicators of change.

Long-Term Indicators of Change:

  1. Increase employment opportunities and remove barriers to employment for young Victorians
  2. Enable organisations to develop innovative, effective, and sustainable strategies attract, develop, and retain talented, inspiring, high performing young employees
  3. Enable organisations to leverage the unique skills and traits of Gen Y and Gen Z employees
  4. Increase the confidence of young people in their employers.
  5. Increase employer positivity, awareness and capacity to treat young people respectfully and fairly through the process of recruitment and as employees.
  6. Set a new standard for youth-friendly workplace procedures, strategies, behaviours and settings.
  7. Raise expectations of employers regarding recruitment practice and outcomes involving young people.
  8. Increase community support and recognition of organisations engaged in being youth-friendly.
  9. Enable organisations and LGAs to take more innovative and proactive steps to redesign work, systems and workplaces to eliminate or minimise risks to mental well-being, as well as to monitor the mental health of workers and of workplace conditions.
  10. Increase the resilience, social connection and mental well-being of young people.
Using the YFE Assessment Tool

There are two assessment tools accessible below. One of these is to be completed by management staff, the other to be completed by young employees (age 16 - 24). Both must be completed in order for a particular workplace, team, or division to be certified as a Youth Friendly Employer. Responses from at least one direct line manager along with a reasonable sample of young employees are required. This forms a baseline of data for MMVLLEN to be able to capture a realistic idea of the culture, team dynamics, and awareness of policies within a workplace.

Both tools are very similar and cover a wide array of categories of assessment including outcomes for young people associated with flexibility, transparency, incentives, communication, teamwork / collaboration, autonomy, innovation, diversity, respect, wellbeing, skill / knowledge development, and career development prospects.

This will be assessed mostly by using slider scales that assign numerical points of 1 - 10 to each factor of analysis. A basic breakdown of results will be visible upon completion, and a detailed breakdown and analysis will be emailed to your organisation by MMVLLEN.

Ready to take the YFE Assessment?

Contact MMVLLEN Today to Express your Interest:

Created & Managed By

'Young people are confident, capable and on their way to success in work and life.'


40 Bellair Street Flemington 3031 | 03 9376 7251 | yfe@mmvllen.org.au

Supported By

Secondary research data, information, and charts displayed on this website were acquired from the following institutes, authorities, and publications:

  • Mitchell Institute. Preparing young people for the future of work; Policy Roundtable Report, January 2017
  • Foundation for Young Australians. The New Basics Report, April 2016
  • Foundation for Young Australians. The New Work Mindset, November 2016
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics. Education and Work, 2007
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics. Education and Work, 2016
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics. Labour Force, 2016
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics. Underlying causes of death, 2016
  • Jordan Gosselin. The Measurement Standard. What are the Defining Characteristics of Millennials in the Workplace? 2018
  • Michele Parmelee. Deloitte Insights. A generation disrupted 2019
  • William D. Eggers, John O'Leary, Amrita Datar. Deloitte Insights. The future of work in government 2019
  • Art Mazor, et al. Deloitte Insights. Measuring human relationships and experiences 2019
  • Juliet Bourke, et al. Deloitte Insights. Diversity and inclusion: The reality gap 2017
  • Jemma Martin. Her Future Moves. Annoyed at Millennials? Consider this 2019
  • Safe Work Australia. Mental Health 2018
  • Work Health and Safety Act (Cth) 2011
  • VicHealth Bright Futures. Youth Megatrends 2019
  • Beyond Blue (Youth). Stats and Facts 2019
Created By
Ryan Beckmand