Ella Doucette has participated in 4-H for seven years. This year, when it came time for the public speaking competition, she chose to talk about the job market for youth. The research she did to prepare the speech was eye-opening, and perhaps some of her suggestions will help further address employment issues on PEI.
Ella’s 4-H speech
Will your child be no further ahead after post-secondary? Will your grandchild be working at McDonalds with a degree in science? Will I be able to find a job?
Currently in Canada, approximately 15 percent of youth are not employed in their career choice after university. By 2030, this problem could increase to 50 percent, because more jobs are disappearing. It is because our world is changing, and that comes with a price.
Let’s start with a very obvious change in the world: technology. In the next 10 years, 70 percent of jobs could be replaced by technology.
How many people have been to a store with self check-outs? These jobs are not the only ones at risk. Bank Tellers are being replaced by ATMs, Lawyers are being replaced by online websites, Pharmacists and Factory Workers by robots, and even cars are driving themselves now.
There is another side to jobs not being available: the cost of living nowadays. People are starting to retire at a later age, which in effect doesn’t allow university graduates to move into employment. For example, Ontario is producing 11,000 new teachers a year; however, only 4,600 teachers are retiring annually. I think everyone knows that just doesn’t add up.
So now there are university graduates without a job.
What do they do? They go back to university to get a higher degree. You’d think this would be a great idea, right? But it actually tends to be worse for three reasons:
- They are left with more debt
- Employers assume that people with a higher degree expect a higher position and a higher salary to pay their debt
- They are still missing the one thing that every employer wants, experience.
What can graduates do?
Instead of going back to school, graduates should consider getting an internship in their field, because it provides experience. However, it may not pay a large salary or any salary at all but it is a connection to the world of work.
The problem is that young people are not being offered the proper resources to help them find out where jobs are needed or not needed. Or the resources are poorly done.
The government could start providing better information about where the jobs are, and we could take a page out of Switzerland’s book and adapt their way of running things. In the Swiss education system, students at the age of 15 choose to go into an apprenticeship or continue their high school education. Those who choose apprenticeship spend three years learning about their selected field.
To sort out a better system in Canada could take a lot of time, but is it worth it? I think it is. Every parent wants their kid to succeed, and this may give them more opportunities.
In case you haven’t heard, PEI is starting to take steps to help our generation find jobs. Another high school graduation requirement has been included. All students need to take a Career Exploration Opportunities class. This class allows students to explore their interests while learning about post-secondary, resumés, potential job interests, and much more.
We need to help students before and during post-secondary and show them job opportunities in their career path. It’s time to renew Canada’s future employees to create a generation that can find a job. It’s time to stand up against youth unemployment.