Statistics show Australia’s 4.3 million young people aged 12 to 25 will be the first generation to be worse off than their parents. In essence, they have the same goals and dreams as previous generations get a good job, buy a home and some have more of an eye to travel and explore the world before settling down into those this, but either way for many these ideas feel almost unattainable.

Ten – Fifteen years ago a university degree was considered an unspoken acceptance into the workforce providing young workers with a key to unlocking future wealth. But as the profits of universities swell and the fortunes of the baby boomers grew at almost five times the rate of the upcoming Millennial generation of young Australians are now facing unprecedented challenges in many areas of their lives.

Youth unemployment currently sits at 13.25%, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Underemployment is seeing the highest level in 40 years at around 18%. In the bush and regional Australia, that figure is even higher, with youth unemployment hitting as high as 41% in the “Queensland — Outback.”

Previous generations benefited from low house prices, free university education and a more open and easily accessible job market. These days younger workers find themselves swimming in HECS debt and will see the cost of their degrees continue to rise under current government policies.

If not addressed the consequences both social and economic, of locking an entire generation of workers out of the housing market are serious and could have a profound impact on Australia’s social structure and future economy.

Entry level jobs, which used to be the pathways into careers for previous generations have almost have disappeared, replaced by unpaid internships and an over reliance part time and temporary jobs.

These days some people studying at University have had to complete as much as 500 hours of unpaid work just to get try and get a job placement. If you base that on the minimum wage that’s about $12,000 worth of work, for free.

Many graduates and school leavers are concerned that they need the experience to get experience and students must go out of their way to work for free and compete for unpaid traineeships to get “a foot in the door” and many post graduates struggle to find work post degree.

So the next time you see one of those articles about Millenials, spare a thought, they are struggling with a job market and a system far more complicated than ever before,  with levels of debt that older generations didn’t have to contend with as they started out in their adult careers.