We're living in interesting times, and I have garnished several titles, Gen Y and Gen jobless being the most used. With the 18-26 age group suffering from double unemployment rates compared to other demographics at times it appears joblessness has become a generational issue. Chronic unemployment is a problem found for many skilled workers here in Canada, and for those unwilling to travel across the country for potential work the prospect of unemployment is even wider. Some of my colleagues (and those who are no longer my colleagues) have shown some degree or other of worry for finding employment, which brings up some important questions: is unemployment presumed before research? How hard are today's youth searching, and how many jobs are slipping through their fingers because of the wrong jobs being given to under/over qualified professionals?
There are expert opinions on why this generation is faced with difficulty on the job market, baby boomers not retiring, jobs being created in BRIC nations and leaving Canada, aging government systems and policies that are too inflexible to make relevant enough policy adaptions. But I think there are more micro-solutions available to solve the issue of youth unemployment. The first is a recommendation made by Kevin O'Leary (@kevinolearytv) on CBC television. Mr. O'Leary suggested that government subsidization of post-secondary education should be limited to those programs that have the ability to contribute back into the economy. It is not a bash against the arts, but those classes that have a low employment turn around rate: psychology, history, philosophy, literature...If those students had to pay full, unsubsidized tuition fees I am safe to assume they would take a more practical career path...electrical engineering anyone?
There, of course is another more worrisome trend that I've found since I've been here at school, and anyone reading this studying in post-secondary is most likely one of those I'm talking about: those of you who have chosen a program, are either beginning or ending it, and have never even bothered to think about what you will do for work. This is by far the largest percentage of people I have met, and there is no excuse for it. Just like parents don't exist to be safety nets, jobs don't exist to be handed out without any resistance. It takes time to build a professional network, see where you need specialize, and see who is hiring not today, but in 1,2,10 years when you're going to be on the market. To all those students in development who haven't researched their field I have some good links for potential work, and if you can't be bothered to check job sites, you can't be bothered to work. So lets try to end this jobless curse, work hard like our parents have, get jobs, and continue to make Canada and the world better places.
Bartlett, S. (Director), & LeRose, M. (Director) (2012). Generation Jobless. Available from http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episode/generation-jobless.html