The new research from ReachOut and EY found that the unpredictable and changing nature of the workplace had a negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 14-25.

Titled Ready or Not, the study found work, money and studies as being the main sources of stress for young people.

According to the survey, almost one in five students said they didn’t feel confident they would be able to find employment, whilst over 40 per cent of students said the training and support to find work was inadequate. 

Twenty-eight per cent of students said they needed more opportunities to develop their professional skills through placements, apprenticeships, internships and volunteering.

Young people had similar experiences in their studies. 

Twenty-five per cent of students said they were so stressed by exams that they had to seek help from a counsellor, GP or mental health professional.

ReachOut CEO Ashley de Silva said students' stress is often “a result of the pressure on young people to do well in exams, find stable employment and gain financial security in a more precarious work environment impacted by automation, globalisation and the gig economy”.

“What comes through from the report is that concerns young people have about work and their future is impacting them right now when it comes to stress about exams. We know that unhealthy levels of stress can impact mental health if left unchecked,” de Silva said.

“The report shows that action is needed to build young people’s resilience and mental wellbeing and to help manage the stress and anxiety they will experience in the future working world. We also need to support those people who young people turn to for help – parents, carers, families and educators.

“As end-of-year exams kick off, we wish all Year 12 students across Australia the best of luck and remind them it’s important to keep stress at healthy levels by using simple strategies like taking breaks, refuelling with healthy food and getting enough sleep.”

Caitlin Francis, partner at EY, said the report also finds that some of the structures to support young people in this new working world are falling short.

“A focus on skills like critical thinking and collaboration will help prepare young people entering a working world where technology is changing roles and the very nature of work,” she said. 

“Additionally, career education that prepares young people for the transition from education to employment is very important, together with real world work experience like internships and apprenticeships.”

*The nationally representative study by ReachOut in 2018 surveyed more than 1000 young people aged 14-25.