Canadian youth are being hit hard by the economic crisis. The Community Foundations of Canada said youth employment is at its lowest level in 30 years.
The rate of unemployment is growing faster for youth under 30 years old than in any other age group, according to the nongovernmental organization’s annual report on the quality of life in Canada.
“The report shows us how the impact of the recession has been immediate and severe for vulnerable groups, such as youth,” said Monica Patten, the group’s President and CEO.
Almost 20 per cent of students were unemployed this summer. Those who were able to find work put in an average of 23.4 hours per week, significantly less than full-time employment.
Heading towards graduation, many Concordia students don’t need statistics to tell them that career-related jobs are not easy to find. Freddy Mvemba is graduating with a degree in electrical engineering this year. Though some might think his degree is a job guarantee, Mvemba has yet to find a first career for post-graduation.
“I look online for jobs,” says Mvemba. “But I did not see so many. I’m still working at a gas station. It’s not paying that much. Ten dollars an hour.” He plans to stay at the gas station if he does not find work in his field.
Karine Idrissi is in her final year of an English degree with a part-time job at the Bell Centre. She sees herself torn between further studies or taking a promotion at her current job. “There might be an opportunity to move up in the Bell Centre, but that’s not really me. I don’t want a fall back; I want to find my own thing.”
Concordia University provides services to help students advance their careers. Francine Salinitri at Career and Placement Services is more positive. She says that most graduating students who get advising from the service get jobs and like what they do.
“We do have job postings that are part-time, too. All our positions are career-related and do require some kind of educational background.” With offices and workshops at both campuses, CAPS also offers one-on-one appointments for help with resumes, cover letters, interview skills, and job hunting.
Iris Unger, Executive Director of Youth Employment Services Montreal says there are many jobs available in the city. “I keep hearing the same thing from employers,” she said. “They have difficulty filling those positions. People have to come in expecting to start at a certain level. They have to be flexible and get their foot in the door [then] work their way up and gain the experience that way.”
Unger emphasizes the importance of a positive attitude and transferable skills. “It’s very much about being ready to jump in and be flexible, getting along with your co-workers. Realizing the culture you’re going into and the added value you are bringing to that organization. Don’t just look for what they can do for you.”
Top 5 tips for job hunting from CAPS Concordia:
1. Keep in mind that the ailing economy is just one factor. The media will often portray the job market worse than it actually is. Don’t get discouraged.
2. Take the opportunity to develop certain skills you think you are lacking.
3. Meet with an advisor. Don’t put it off. Start early. Make sure all your job search tools 8212; resume, cover letters, preparation for interviews 8212; are ready to promote you.
4. Research. Don’t depend on job postings. Research the desired field and potential companies. Not all job postings are online.
5. Network. Talk to as many people as possible. Tell as many people as possible you’re looking for work. A lot of positions are filled through referrals.
YES Montreal Internship Programme forGraduated Students
YES Montreal matches a new graduate with less than six months of experience in their field with an employer for a 19-week paid internship subsidized by Service Canada. The goal of the internship is for the intern to stay with the company. One way YES ensures a strong match is to place a young person in a position that directly matches their post-secondary education and is aligned with their career goals.