New figures show the Southern Highlands is ranked second of the top 20 youth unemployment regions in Australia, causing concern to the area’s young people who can’t find work.

In a recent report conducted by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven regions have a 28.9% unemployment rate, a massive hike on the national youth unemployment rate of 12.2%.

Bowral resident Georgia Marlow, 19, has struggled to find a job, only recently becoming employed in the retail industry.

“Almost all jobs require experience so the people without experience have almost no luck in getting a new job,” she said.

“Most places also hire older people who have acquired more experience which creates less opportunities for young people.”

While the figures are still high, the report shows an improvement with a 10 per cent drop in youth unemployment in the area over the last two years.

Southern Highland’s Recruitment Agency executive Margherita Colley has had many unemployed youth through the Agency’s doors searching for work.

She said for young people to find employment in the Southern Highlands it was essential to have experience.

“Employers are generally seeking candidates who will commit to them for many years, which becomes an issue with young people wanting to explore different career paths,” she said.

Young people growing up in the Southern Highlands have traditionally left the area to attend school or university.

Ms Colley said this cycle of youth trying to gain experience is in direct competition with an older demographic.

“The majority of the businesses are small and don’t offer great career progression for the young people,” she said.

“This is another reason why there are less jobs to offer and why older people secure these positions having returned to the Highlands to start their families.”

Nationwide the youth unemployment rate is high, with statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that 25% of young people in New South Wales are neither employed in full-time work or full-time education.

Ms Colley encouraged all young people to gain experience so that they can secure a job.

“It may not be their dream job, but it is crucial to begin gaining experience in different areas to allow for future career progression,” she said.