Home CommentaryOpinions It’s hard out there for a grad

It’s hard out there for a grad

by David Li September 18, 2012
It’s hard out there for a grad

Photo by Madelayne Hajek.

Think you’re going to get a job after university? Think again.

As another university semester gets into gear, some of us find ourselves just starting a degree, while others are just on the verge of completing one. For everyone though, one thing is on all our minds; employment.

We are all familiar with the infamous catch-22 of being unable to find a job because of a lack of work experience and being unable to acquire such experience because jobs are unobtainable.

Now, Statistics Canada is reporting that the unemployment rate for people aged 15-24 is 14.8 per cent, more than double the 7.3 per cent for the nation as a whole.

Before we pull the fire alarm, however, let us take a look at the overall situation. According to the International Labour Organization, the global rate of youth unemployment is approximately 12.7 per cent, while it is about 17.5 per cent in developed economies. Canada is actually in an enviable position, especially compared to many countries in Europe.

These rates are expected to decrease by a couple of percentage points in the next five years, but should still remain far higher than the rates in 2007 before the economic crisis struck.

As the youth become more and more disillusioned by the current and future job market, what can be done to remedy the situation?

The prevailing belief is that getting a degree, whether undergraduate or graduate, is no longer enough to get one’s foot in the door, as all job applicants possess that same piece of paper.

However, there is much more to pursuing a degree in higher education that goes beyond school work. There are hidden perks to coughing up those tuition fees. So many resources are available exclusively to university students and can give them the edge required to get a job.

Concordia has an array of co-op programs which allow students to gain work experience as they complete their degree, giving them a more rounded resumé once they graduate.

For example, the Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program allows students to do summer internships in Uganda for two months and only pay for their flights and vaccines. Programs such as these are invaluable in getting experience that separate oneself from the rest of the field. John Molson School of Business’ Career Management Services provides various services such as résumé writing and interview workshops.

These tools and many more can be used by students to make them more competitive in the job market. That said, the government also has a responsibility of ensuring that more youth are able to get jobs.

Job creation must be a greater priority and can be implemented by funding training programs, giving tax breaks to employers who hire youth, and supporting young entrepreneurs.

Ultimately, it is in developed nations’ best interest to increase youth employment opportunities since strong earnings in the long-term are only possible if careers are long-lasting. As baby boomers reach the age of retirement, this is certainly something for society to think about.

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