The 2018 SKILLSROAD Youth Census survey of 18-24-year-olds included a total of 86 questions. A wide range of topics were covered. Here are some highlights.

The survey

The survey aims to help understand the experiences of young Australians and the impact that different contexts and environments and pathways have on their feelings of wellbeing and their transitions to life beyond school. They define ‘wellbeing’ as “feeling good and functioning well”.

The SKILLSROAD 2018 Youth Census survey was open from towards the end of August to the end of September 2018. It had around 30,000 respondents. Of these, 58% were female and 42% came from New South Wales. Most (76%) were between 15 and 19 years old, and 56% were still at school. Of those who had left school 74% were working or doing an apprentice or traineeship, 16% were studying and 10% were not in paid employment or studying.

The survey questions cover nine key areas: demographic data, housing, schooling, career pathways and career guidance at school, apprenticeship and traineeship pathways, university pathways, work expectations and experience, and wellbeing.

What the survey found

These are a few of the headline findings.

Only half of the survey respondents reported they received quality career advice throughout their schooling. In addition, those who do have an adult available to provide career counselling are more likely to end up in a career that relates to their post-school education or training.

The report also compared the quality of career conversations at school with their overall wellbeing scores. It highlighted that:

“those who report that they do not receive quality career conversations have lower overall wellbeing scores than those who report that they do.”

This finding was statistically significant.

The study also found that those survey participants who undertook an apprenticeship, traineeship, or were working in some capacity were happier overall and “experienced higher levels of ‘meaning,’ ‘resilience’ and ‘optimism’ than all other pathways after school.” Those still at school and who were also undertaking a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship, or working a part-time job, reported higher levels of wellbeing than students who were not working at all.


“Respondents who were working reported that they have high expectations of managers and supervisors, and that they expect positive and friendly work environments, and to receive coaching and mentoring in the workplace, as well as opportunities for career progression.”

So, how they are treated in the workplace really matters. Feeling cared for and supported really helps contribute to their feelings of wellbeing.

If you want to explore this and other relevant topics more, visit the SKILLSROAD website. It has advice for employers, parents and teachers – including a range of downloadable resources. For teachers, these include lesson plans  and other resources on job interviews and  career planning. There is also a series of webinars, including one about this survey and its results.