In the last blog post, I discussed some of the pros and cons that can be found in the Canadian job market. To recap, Canada has one of the most educated populations in the world, but a high youth unemployment rate. One factor that has led to youth unemployment, which I mentioned in the last post, is degree inflation. There are other variables, however, that are just as important. In this blog post, I will focus on our education system and successful solutions for young professionals seeking employment.
Two Ways To Help Young Professionals Seeking Employment :
1) Show students the wide variety of jobs that are available
2) Show students where to look for the wide variety jobs available
Show Students the Wide Variety of Jobs Available
As the Western Region Representative for CCI Learning, my time is split between BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan on one hand, and Washington State on the other hand. I am always in awe of the sheer number of mega-companies that are headquartered in the state immediately south of BC. To name a few:
- Kirkland (Costco)
- Seattle’s Best
Not only do these companies employ thousands of people, but dozens upon dozens of medium sized companies exist to serve the needs of these leviathans of industry. It is easy to imagine, then, that young Washingtonians who graduate from High School and University leave with the hope of landing internships, contracts, or entry level positions with any of these companies.
Vancouver, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t contain the same collection of super-companies, and that leaves many of us at a bit of a loss. In my conversations with students, I frequently like to ask them what they would like to do upon graduation. More often than not, I find that the answers are similar to what these students would have answered had I asked them in elementary school. The star-studded over achievers want to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, dentists, etcetera. Another group of responders hymn the steady hum of the public sector choir; aspiring teachers, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, and more. All of these are fine answers; young Canadians should be proud to pursue any one of these fantastic careers. However, there is an observable problem here. Young professionals don’t know about the wider variety of jobs that are available to them.
Imagine for a moment that you to walk into a restaurant you’ve never eaten at before and the waiter asks for your order before you’ve seen the menu. Does that seem like an unfair request? It should. That is analogous to what is happening to our Secondary and Post-Secondary graduates. It is due to this lack of awareness that you will almost certainly never hear When I grow up, I want to be a regional learning solutions specialist for an educational service provider (I certainly never said that when I was in Secondary school, and yet here I am).
Consider how often we hear statistics that fill us with hope and amazement of the future. The 10 fastest growing jobs of the next decade that didn’t exist in the last decade. Graduate students are studying to solve problems that have yet to occur. Hurray! But students need to be aware of these growing jobs and so do educators.
It would be worthwhile to help and support educators by setting up professional development days focusing on the job prospects of the future for their students. Give educators a chance to be educated on the variety of jobs available for their student or, better yet, the skill sets a student needs to give them an edge in the job market. Once we have properly educated our students on the vast type of jobs that are available, they are much more likely to work and fight for these jobs.
Show Students Where to Look For the Wide Variety of Jobs
Yes, it’s true. Washington is a magnet for uber-companies that, in turn, produce thousands of job opportunities for young professionals. While their presence may create the illusion that we have fewer jobs in Vancouver, it does not make it a reality. So, what do you do?
Many readers may be surprised to know that 48 percent of the Canadian labor force works for small to medium sized businesses (defined as companies with less than 100 employees). Vancouver and its suburbs produce a plethora of small businesses that provide goods and services for numerous industries. Due to the rapid change in technology, searching online has proven to yield many meaningful results. To find these jobs, I recommend that recent graduates visit websites like LinkedIn and www.indeed.ca. These websites amalgamate job postings from all over the internet into one nice location.
To make use of this search tool, it is pretty essential to have an idea of what types of jobs your skills qualify you for. Try to learn some key words before conducting a search; Account Manager, Business Development Manager, Customer Service are some basic examples.
Having read this far, you may be ready to give up altogether and spend your life as a vagabond, traveling with a group of circus performers and spooking young children by telling them about the University Monster that is going to eat all of their money when they grow up. That would be the wrong takeaway from this post. The important, and simple, lesson behind this post is a little bit of knowledge can go a long way in helping young professionals find careers. Both of the problems that I have highlighted in this post – the lack of awareness regarding the jobs that are available, as well as a uncertainty about how to look for these jobs – can be remedied by a few days’ worth of research. Knowing what jobs are available and how to find them (in Vancouver or elsewhere) will help turn a uncertain situation into an uplifting and optimistic one.
In my next post in the series, I will focus more on what employers are looking for in today’s highly competitive world.