Unemployment, Underemployment, and Canada’s Youth

So, it turns out that Canadians are really smart! Well, at least book smart; Canada boasts one of the highest education rates in the developed world. Nearly 51 percent of the Canadian populous possesses some post-secondary accreditation – a full 20 percent over the OECD average. It turns out, however, that spending half of our lives devouring books hasn’t yielded the results that many of Canada’s young bright minds would expect.

Unemployment, Underemployment, and Canada's Youth

Canada has a 7-8 percent unemployment rate (which is reasonable for a developed country). However, our youth unemployment rate is 14-16 percent; double the national average!  What is more worrisome is that we have an underemployment rate of approximately 25 percent; that means that 1 out of every 4 Canadian’s feel that they are overqualified for their current job. Sometimes the thought of being underemployed is actually more worrisome than the thought of being unemployed; slaving away at a job you don’t like while your $30,000 degree collects dust in your mom’s basement is the stuff nightmares are made of.

The irony, of course, is that Canada’s absurdly high number of post-secondary graduates may actually be fueling youth unemployment. That’s right, we’ve studied ourselves out of a job! It’s a phenomenon known as degree inflation. With fiscal inflation, amounts of money that used to buy you a particular set of goods no longer cover the cost of those goods; you can no longer see a movie for a nickel like your grandpa used to. Likewise, having a BA, BSc or a BBA used to mean that you were on your way to beginning your career, period. That simply is no longer the case.

Now, most of us agree that grandpa sounds, at best, overly nostalgic when he harkens back to the days of yester-year when land could be bought for a dollar and a nice pair of shoes could be purchased with the lint in your pocket. Well, those who complain about having university degrees, but not finding jobs are going to sound pretty outdated themselves if they don’t keep up with the times.

However, there are things you can do to help yourself, and that is what these blog posts are about. Learn to leverage every possible crevice and peripheral variable to make yourself stand out. Don’t make silly mistakes on your resume, don’t show up to interviews late and unprepared, and make yourself memorable!

Stay tuned for our next post in this blog series where I will discuss Unemployment – Solutions and Then Some.

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