About the Study

The Youth Employment Study (YES) is the first study to do surveys with a large group of young people who are looking for work and might be accessing Australian employment programs. YES aims to work out what helps young people get jobs and stay in jobs that they enjoy.

Employment is recognised as being really important in the development of good health and is fundamentally linked to a person’s physical and mental health through factors such as financial security, social support and status, and personal growth and self-esteem. Young people are at greater risk of experiencing other adverse work circumstances, such as job strain (high job demands but low job control), unwanted sexual advances, and workplace bullying. Emerging adulthood (from adolescence up to a person is in their thirties) is increasingly recognised as a life stage that is full of individual, social and economic change, particularly as young people leave education and move into employment. Because of all of these reasons, it is really important to look into what makes a successful transition into employment for young people.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic impact of this crisis, it is now more important than ever to learn more about how we can support young people into jobs. 

YES is based in the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne.

YES is currently recruiting participants and we want to follow up with young people every 2 months during 2020. Surveys can be done either online or over the phone.


Most past research on the employment of young people, especially marginalised young people with disabilities or disadvantage, looks at the short-term social and economic consequences of programs or policies and ignores longer-term health outcomes. This is problematic because employment is a critical determinant of future health and wellbeing. Working with our partner organisations, we will:
  1. Identify the range of policies and programs available to help young people get jobs
  2. Investigate what helps young people get jobs that suit them and that they like
  3. Look at what specific aspects of work for young people lead to certain health benefits. These health benefits include more positive health behaviours, lower health service use and an improved quality of life.
  4. Look at how COVID-19 has impacted on work for young people and how the economic fallout will continue to change the way young people find and keep work.

If you are aged 15-25 and have been looking for work, we want to hear from you! This study will involve:
  • A 20-25 minute survey which is available online (or over the phone if you would prefer) 
  • After this first survey, we will ask you to complete 3 shorter surveys (around 10 minutes) and then another longer survey at the beginning of 2021 (about 20 minutes). The surveys will be available online or by telephone. The surveys will be conducted 2-months apart.
  • Researchers at the University of Melbourne will conduct the surveys. They will contact you to remind you to complete the next survey, and you can choose to do this online or on the telephone. You can stop participating at any time if you want to. 
  • The survey will have questions about your experiences looking for work, what it was like for you at work if you’ve had a job and your work history, including your training and education. There are also questions about your health. The researchers also want to find out what kind of work you would like to do.

The research project will tell us what aspects of employment programs and workplaces and what characteristics help young people find and keep jobs. The findings from the research will help to make better government policy in this area and lead to changes in employment programs for young people. It will also help employers to know how they can support young people in the workplace.

University Partners

University of Melbourne
Deakin University
Monash University
University of New South Wales

Industry Partners

National Disability Services
NDS website
Disability Employment Australia
DEA website
VicHealth website
Brotherhood of St Laurence
BSL website
yourtown website
Headspace website