Local market find ignites debate about future for young Aussies

The automatic drink machine sparked concerns among some that teens and young adults could soon be without jobs.

Left: man standing at bubble tea vending machine at Dee Why Markets, Sydney. Right: Two young women working in cafe.
The automatic drink machine (left) at a Sydney market riled up some Aussies who voiced their concerns about limited jobs available for young people. Source: Manly Observer/Google images

A "futuristic" find at a local market has reignited concerns for future generations, as young Aussies, including teens and graduates, continue in their battle with finding suitable jobs, permanent or otherwise.

The minimum age to work across Australia varies, with some states allowing teens as young as 13 to get a job. However, some fear the rise of tech might take away working opportunities for young Aussies in years to come.

Residents in Sydney's Northern Beaches were treated to a state-of-the-art bubble tea vending machine which made an appearance at a local market during the week. A photo shared online by the Manly Observer shows a man ordering a drink, which is then made using a robotic arm before being dispersed.

"Meanwhile over at Dee Why Market it's the year 2050, and locals are getting bubble tea made with a robotic arm," said the post, however not everyone was as impressed

Young man standing at Bobo Island Bubble Tea vending machine at Dee Why markets, Sydney.
The bubble tea vending machine uses a robotic arm to make the selected drink, with some fearing it can put young kids out of jobs. Source: Manly Observer

"I’d rather go to a cafe and be served by a real person. Keep people in jobs,' one person hit back. Meanwhile, another simply said, "Keep kids in Jobs".

"It is easy for people to love all this automation now, but when their children cannot get jobs due to 'robotic arms' in shops/businesses, it will be too late," another person responded, encouraging people to instead "support businesses who employ actual people/teens."

"This will eventually be all restaurants," another noted.

Josh Peak, the secretary of the SDA union recently told the ABC that working has many benefits for young people, including "developing life skills and great friendships". Many start out in the retail and fast food or hospitality industries

"There's no doubt that getting your first job in the retail fast food sector is a really exciting time and brings a range of really good experiences," he said.

A rising number of Gen Zs, including recent uni graduates, have expressed their frustration at not being able to find sufficient work. The unemployment rate rose to a two-year high of 4.1 per cent in April. Despite employers adding 38,500 jobs in the month, the number of unemployed people jumped by 30,000.

Competition for jobs is also fierce right now with more employees competing for fewer jobs. SEEK found job ads declined 4.7 per cent last month, while the number of applications per job has been steadily rising, jumping 8.6 per cent.

“Competition for live roles continues to grow, with applications per job ad rising significantly in March, and in almost all industries,” SEEK ANZ managing director Kendra Banks previously told Yahoo Finance.

However, Zetter Recruitment’s director of recruitment, Ursula Colman, explained how Gen Zs either had unrealistic expectations about their pay or the time needed in the office.

"The amount that people are willing to work for has definitely changed. We will often have entry-level roles and Gen Zs are like: ‘No, that's not paying enough, I'm looking for more’," she said.

"We are seeing more and more Gen Zs wanting to work from home and, historically, those first roles in your career are grafting roles where you're having to commute and work long hours."

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