Learning to Work: Australian university students and the growth of paid employment

Bill Robbins

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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    LEARNING TO WORK: AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND THE GROWTH OF PAID EMPLOYMENT For the past decade there has been a steady increase in the number of Australian university students working in paid employment. During the same time there has also been an increase in the hours they work. These work commitments are now having an impact on student ability to attend classes and to engage in out-of-class study. Work commitments clearly have implications for the quality of the university experience, for the management of university facilities and for the educational principle of life long learning. On the other hand, with perhaps over 400,000 university students working in some paid capacity, it is important to understand more about their employment experience. This paper will identify the nature of student work in terms of industry and employment status, earnings and hours as well as other employment relations issues such as union membership and whether students are able to find employment in the area of their study. This paper will also examine aspects of student worker expenditure which throws light on why so many students are now seeking paid employment. From these details the paper will argue that the growth in the paid employment of university students is a reflection both of higher education funding and of the changing character and nature of the contemporary labour market in Australia and other developed economies; namely the casualisation of employment generally. However, the implications of this employment growth need also to be understood in the light of recent changes to the regulation of industrial relations in Australia. Theses changes have reduced levels of minimum protection for all workers, but most critically for casual workers. In this way this paper will explore the human resource and industrial relations implications of this growing cohort of young workers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationWorking Lives
    Subtitle of host publicationWorking Choices, 15th International Employment Relations Association Conference
    EditorsJanet Drucker
    Place of PublicationCanterbury, UK
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    EventInternational Employment Relations Association Conference - Canterbury, United kingdom, United Kingdom
    Duration: 09 Jul 200712 Jul 2007


    ConferenceInternational Employment Relations Association Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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