Team of constructions engineers having a coffee break at work site
Team of constructions engineers having a coffee break at work site

Boss unleashes on ‘pathetic’ workers

Young Aussies are turning their backs on jobs with salaries of up to $17,000 a week because they're too lazy to put in the hard yards.

That's according to Sydney man Ryan Graham, who has owned a commercial flooring company for around 10 years.

He said young Australians were abandoning lucrative trades altogether, while the few who did apply for roles regularly quit soon after starting.

The problem has become so widespread the 42-year-old has sponsored foreigners to fill roles in the past.

But he said a government clampdown on the sponsorship of foreigners for his trade had left him in the lurch.

"Everyone you see on a job site is Brazilian or English or Irish or Argentinian - they just love working," he said.

"People complain that foreign workers are taking Australian jobs … but we've had 15 guys over the last two years that haven't lasted more than a week. I interviewed one guy for an hour who was there for 10 minutes before he walked off the job.

"Australians don't want the job, they would rather do something easy."

He said it actually cost Australian businesses more to hire foreign workers, but that it was usually worth the investment.

"You know they're going to turn up and do the work, because they don't have mum and dad to look after them," he said.

He said the "massive problem" - which affected all trades in the country - was so severe he often didn't bother to advertise for vacant roles as he knew there would be little interest from local jobseekers.

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A Sydney business owner claims entitled young Australians are unwilling to work hard for their pay. Picture: iStock
A Sydney business owner claims entitled young Australians are unwilling to work hard for their pay. Picture: iStock

"It's pathetic, really. We grew up and worked hard and we were really excited to get a job as a tradesman," he said.

"Now, no one wants to work hard. Growing up I'd be working six or seven days a week for 20 years. Obviously, that's an extreme case but back then people were proud to have a trade - and the reality is carpet and vinyl laying is the highest-paid trade in Australia.

"The older workers who aren't working as hard would make an average of $3000 to $4000 a week but if you want to get in there and work hard, younger guys can average $7000 to $8000 a week. It is hard work but who wouldn't want to work hard for that?"

He said he knew of one contractor who, on good weeks, made $17,000 between him and his apprentice, who probably took home around $1000 of that cash.

"The problem is young guys see that and want $17,000 straight away, but you've got to work three to five years to be able to make that money," he said.

He said he believed the lack of work ethic was the result of upbringing and that he doubted things would change without government intervention.

"The most common question we get as soon as someone comes in (for an interview) is 'how much are you paying?'" he said.

"In my day if you asked that straightaway you'd be told to get out. You were just glad to have a job.

"I just wish there was some incentive to change the younger generation, or at least let us sponsor people who really want to work - don't take that away from us."

His general manager Simon Doughty, who has worked for the company for six years, told news.com.au a similar story.

"Some of them don't even last two hours - they just walk off the job and don't even bother saying anything, and you never see them again," he said.

"We're paying above the award for labourers and we look after the guys - it is hard work and dirty work, but … you've got to work hard to make money."

The 55-year-old said the vast majority of labourers on building sites were now people from overseas on working holidays.

Simon Doughty says Aussies are abandoning trades. Picture: Supplied
Simon Doughty says Aussies are abandoning trades. Picture: Supplied

"There's plenty of room to move up the ladder. If you put in the hard yards for four or five years, you'll be making big money if you're smart enough," he said.

And it seems Mr Doughty and Mr Graham aren't alone.

This week, a new Department of Employment survey revealed 45 per cent of Australian employers struggled to recruit staff in 2018.

Around 60 per cent of employers trying to fill lower-skilled positions reported issues such as a lack of qualified or experienced applicants, jobseekers who were "not interested in the occupation or work conditions" and those lacking "employability" and "personal presentation" skills.

"We have an economy of opportunity and employers are screaming out for workers who are eager for a job," employment minister Michaelia Cash said in a statement on Monday.

"The Morrison Government strongly believes that the best form of welfare is a job."

The findings coincided with a recent push to increase the Newstart unemployment benefit - a push the Coalition has rejected.

Continue the conversation @carey_alexis | alexis.carey@news.com.au


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