Gen Y workers want flexible work spaces
TORONTO, Cananda – A new survey says many Canadians consider the time it takes to get to work as important as the job itself.
The survey by Oxford Properties and Environics Research Group found that 76 per cent of respondents wanted a reasonable commute to the office.
All things being equal, 50 per cent considered commute time to be the No. 1 factor in choosing one employer over another.
The majority of those surveyed said a commute time of less than 30 minutes was the appropriate travel time to work, in line with the average one-way Canadian commute of 29 minutes.
But that commuting time applies to only six in 10 Ontario workers, with commuters in Toronto facing an average one-way trip of 42 minutes.
Atlantic Canada commuters fare better, with nine in 10 workers commuting 30 minutes or less, as do workers in Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa.
While some Canadians may change jobs for a shorter distance to work, one-third of workers would be willing to work an extra three hours per week for a reasonable commute, the survey said.
Social media connects Canadians to careers
Ignore that request from LinkedIn or Twitter at your peril — it might be a job offer, according to a global study released Wednesday.
The study, commissioned by U.S. human resources firm Kelly Services, found that 39 per cent of Canadians polled have been contacted through a social media website or network in the last year about a possible job opportunity.
Of those surveyed, 14 per cent of Canadians said they were hired after having been contacted via websites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
“Social media is rapidly revolutionizing the recruitment process because it broadens the access to an enormous pool of candidates,” said Michael Webster, executive vice-president of the Americas region for Kelly Services in a statement.
“We are also seeing the impact access to smart technology has on retention as the work and personal lives of today’s employees is more commonly blended together. Suddenly employees have the flexibility to engage socially or accomplish work tasks at any given time.”
After BlackBerry layoffs, career fair attracts more than 700
WATERLOO, Ont. – After BlackBerry helped build its reputation as the epicentre of Canada’s technology sector, Waterloo, Ont., is working against the odds to find jobs for hundreds of employees who have been laid off by the smartphone company.
At a convention centre on the outskirts of the city, nearly 700 people — about half of them former BlackBerry staff — gathered at a technology jobs fair this week where they hoped to find a position at another company.
But the overwhelming attendance suggested that most would face disappointment.
“My goal is to try and meet with prospective employers,” said Mike Holownych, a Kitchener, Ont., resident who lost his job with BlackBerry in 2012 but wants to stay in the region.
“I’ve been looking in the tech sector since August of last year. Most of the interest I’ve been getting has been outside of the area, both in Toronto and in the states.”
Millennial workers are young and restless but essential
Jason Dorsey was at a conference for fast-food franchisees last week, when a restaurant owner told him about being berated by the parent of a young employee after giving that worker a poor performance review. As a keynote speaker, Dorsey asked how many other employers had dealt with interfering parents. Roughly 45 of the 300 attendees threw up their hands. “The franchisees in that room have been in this business a long time, and they were complaining because they’ve never seen anything like this,” says Dorsey, 35, a consultant based in Austin, Texas, who advises companies on retaining millennials—one of the kinder terms ascribed to the Generation Y cohort born during the early 1980s or later.
Gen Y has been described as “Generation Me” in a book by the same title. The New York Times labelled the group ““Generation Why Bother” in a harsh op-ed that criticized its members for staying home and checking Facebook instead of getting a driver’s licence and looking for work. A quick Google search also yields widely held stereotypes of millennials as coddled and entitled, shunning entry-level jobs, craving lots of vacation time and expecting to be CEOs within their first week at work.
Kenney: training funds can’t go to “habitual welfare recipients”
OTTAWA – The federal government’s Canada Job Grant proposals are in trouble, officials and opposition critics are warning on the eve of Jason Kenney’s meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts.
Seven months after Ottawa first proposed the program in its March 2013 budget, the minister of employment and social development can expect a litany of complaints when he sits down with his colleagues in Toronto on Friday.
Quebec has even threatened to opt out of the program.
“They’re out on a branch on this one, a very fragile branch,” Brad Duguid, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities, said this week.
Provinces and territories are particularly opposed to Kenney’s plan to slice $300 million — about 60 per cent — from the so-called Labour Market Agreement implemented by the Conservatives in 2007.
That initiative provides funds to train unemployed workers not eligible for employment insurance and is aimed at aboriginals, immigrants, women, youth, older workers, people with disabilities and those with low literacy levels.
“They’re planning on funding this Canada Job Grant on the backs of our most vulnerable workers,” said Duguid, adding that the program would leave Ontario on the hook for $232 million.
Don’t let careerist naysayers derail your dreams
If you are a university student or a university-bound high school student you probably have the impression, thanks to Canadian media and possibly your parents, that the future is bleak. They would have you believe that learning for learning’s sake is a waste of time and picking a potentially lucrative major is not. There are no jobs, they warn, certainly not in art history or philosophy or whatever allegedly dead-end major you plan to pursue—so you may as well learn something “useful.” They are right about jobs. The future, not to mention the present, is bleak. Youth unemployment in Canada is exceedingly high; in Ontario, according to a September report, one in two persons between 15 and 24 has a paid job—the worst ratio we’ve seen since Statistics Canada began recording the numbers in 1976.
Not all employers have senses of humour
Students may think nothing they do on campus has meaning outside the university bubble but their actions, especially online, are visible to a sometimes unforgiving world. In a few decades, when their generation is making hiring and firing decisions, profane Tweets and Instagram photos may be taken for what they are: mostly meaningless. Until then, they ought to be careful.
Maria Rizzetto, a student at St. Francis Xavier University and columnist for the Xaverian Weekly, learned this lesson. A longtime bar and restaurant worker, she wrote what she considered a funny, lighthearted look at what bartenders think of their customers’ sometimes inappropriate behaviour.
How to survive Piper’s Pub: 10 rules from a bartender was clearly tongue-in-cheek. Rizzetto had been working at the same bar for two years and seems universally known and loved at her Nova Scotia school. The rules she offered were tips on proper bar etiquette with a heavy dose of snark.
Experts say more Canadians should consider skilled trades
VANCOUVER – The current shortage of skilled tradespeople in Western Canada is so dire that the B.C. Construction Association is returning to Ireland this month to hire 600 people, said the group’s vice-president.
In fact, even if one-in-five students graduating from high school in B.C. during the next three years were to pursue a trade, there still wouldn’t be enough workers to fill shortages in the province’s construction industry, said Abigail Fulton.
Not everybody agrees with the recruitment drive, especially the province’s labour leaders who argue employers can find skilled, unionized Canadian workers to fill immediate, vacant positions.
Yet, a consensus is developing that there will be a shortage of skilled workers in the coming decade, as proponents of the liquefied natural-gas industry, hydro-electric projects and oil and gas pipelines push their proposals forward.
“There’s lots of evidence to suggest we’re not doing enough to train construction workers in skilled trades in British Columbia, and if even half these projects come through we’re going to have a crisis unless we start now to deal with the problem,” said Jim Sinclair, president of the BC Federation of Labour.
The provincial government’s own statistics indicate there will be more than one-million job openings over the next decade, and more than 153,000 of those will be among trades, transport, equipment operators and related occupations. Retirements will be responsible for two-thirds of the vacancies, and new economic growth will be behind the remaining third, states the British Columbia Labour Market Outlook 2010-2020.
Gains in natural resources, agriculture, finance, real estate
The Canadian economy created almost 12,000 net new jobs in September as fewer young people looking for work also helped slightly reduce the unemployment rate, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The unemployment rate was 6.9 per cent for the month, down 0.2 percentage points.
It was the first time since December 2008 that it has been below seven per cent.
“Amid all the to-ing and fro-ing in Canada’s headline job tally so far in 2013, the underlying picture that has emerged is one of moderate gains — certainly a bit cooler than in recent years, but enough to trim the jobless rate,” Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter wrote in a note.
The lacklustre jobs report followed a move by the Bank of Canada last week to lower its forecasts for economic growth in the second half of 2013 and possibly for next year.
Did Canada train too many doctors?
TORONTO – The findings are startling, given years of complaints about doctor shortages and long wait times for surgeries. But a new report suggests that nearly one in six recently minted medical specialists cannot find work in their field.
And one in five of the new specialists reported taking a series of short term fill-in posts — locums, in the lingo of medicine — to stay working.
Physicians who reported having trouble finding work included urologists, critical care specialists, gastroenterologists, ophthamologists, orthopedic surgeons and general surgeons, though doctors from other sub-specialties were also unemployed.
Steven Lewis, a health policy consultant based in Saskatchewan, suggested the report is proof reactive moves made over the last 15 years or so solved one problem by creating another. And he said the situation the report captures will only get worse, because medical schools will continue to graduate specialists at current levels for the next few years at least.
“I think we overshot the mark,” said Lewis, who was not involved in this study.
“I think that there is no question that … almost doubling medical school enrolments since the late 1990s combined with easier paths to licensure for international medical grads was the wrong thing to do. We didn’t think it through as a country.”
Aging population means jobs in nursing, medicine and more
From the Future of Jobs report
As an ecological field researcher with British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests, Sonya Powell had a dependable, though segmented, career. Seasonal contracts put her in the woods each summer, surveying tree life for $20 to $25 an hour; in the winters, she taught geography classes at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Gaps between jobs were her vacation time, she chuckles.
That was before the global economic downturn led to the collapse of the forestry sector. In the summer of 2009, Powell couldn’t find her usual contracts. Remembering the health problems of the isolated communities she had passed through in the summers, she enrolled in an accelerated 20-month nursing program at UBC designed for students in their second careers. It paid off: She landed not one, but two nursing jobs when she graduated.
Why even your career isn’t safe from automation
From our Future of Jobs report
Car buffs looking for information on the new BMW i3 electric car are being told to text the company’s U.K. sales department. What they may not realize is that they are kicking off a conversation with a computer. The artificial intelligence system, created by London Brand Management, is capable of making sense of natural language cues and learning as it goes along, allowing it to carry on a realistic back-and-forth conversation—at least to the extent that texting can be considered conversation.
It’s PR without people, and it’s the latest example of how machines are continuing to infiltrate the workplace. Three decades ago, robots took over the factory floor, displacing millions of blue-collar workers in the process. Now, they’re being tapped to do office work, sell insurance and feed hungry fast-food patrons. San Francisco’s Momentum Machines, for example, has built a burger-flipping robot that can dispense 360 sizzling burgers per hour, potentially saving restaurants up to $135,000 in annual labour costs. Other companies are turning to so-called Big Data to direct their marketing and advertising, relying on powerful computers to comb through huge databases of information about customers’ shopping and web-surfing habits.
Waterloo’s VeloCity and Ryerson’s DMZ nurture startups
From our Future of Jobs report
Last year, Hongwei Liu, 22, dropped out of school. At first, he didn’t tell his parents. Until he took the leap, Liu was studying engineering at the University of Waterloo, but he found that more and more of his time was wrapped up in a non-academic challenge. GPS technology in cars, and Google Maps on cellphones, among other services, point lost travellers in the right direction. But, Liu says, no one had created a service to help people navigate the great indoors. Three years after he and his co-founders launched MappedIn, which now builds interactive maps and apps that replace clunky, static boards in shopping malls, Liu’s team has grown to 13 employees (median age 23) and is worth millions.
Liu is part of a generation of young entrepreneurs who, inspired by success stories like Facebook’s, which famously emerged from a Harvard dorm room, aren’t waiting to earn degrees before launching businesses. Some drop out while they build their businesses, others take an extra year to wrap up their degrees, and still others simply do both at the same time. According to a CIBC report, a record half a million Canadians were starting their own businesses last year. The trend is not due to a lack of other employment opportunities, noted the report, but a growing culture of individualism and new opportunities driven by technology. Young entrepreneurs are also benefiting from the dozens of business incubators popping up on university campuses across the country that hope to transform keener students into the next generation of Canada’s entrepreneurial elite.
Future lawyers push for more practical skills
Laura McGee entered law school three years ago planning on a career negotiating international trade deals. By second year, reality set in.
“Once you look at recruiting opportunities, you start to think, ‘Who’s going to pay me to practise international law?’”
Staring down a six-figure debt, she decided to explore her options on Bay Street, Canada’s corporate capital, where there’s plenty of work for young lawyers. To her surprise, the University of Toronto didn’t offer many ways to get business-law skills or test drive a corporate career. The school’s clinics, where students get credit and hands-on experience with clients, offered exposure to Aboriginal law, poverty law and family law, but—ironically for a school one subway stop from Bay Street—not business. “You learn to think in law school,” she says, “but you don’t learn how to practise as a lawyer.” Seeing a gap, she circulated a petition proposing a business-law clinic. About 200 students, a third of the class, signed within two days.
What the single-stream CPA designation means for students
For students considering a career in accounting, 2013 might seem like the most confusing time in the history of the profession. For more than a century, Canada has had three different accounting designations, each with its own unique path from school to work and each competing for its share of influence among students and industry. But this year, a little more than 100 years after the split, it has reunited, changing both the nature of accounting and the path students follow to get there.
Western business schools scramble to set up overseas
For Dezsö Horváth, the dean of York University’s Schulich School of Business, there’s no small amount of irony in India’s recent decision to allow foreign universities to confer degrees in the South Asian country of 1.2 billion. The widely expected but long-delayed ruling came on Sept. 10—one week after Schulich planned to welcome the first wave of students to a brand-new, $100-million campus in Hyderabad. The ambitious project was put on hold last year after it became clear that the foreign universities bill, first proposed in 2010, would not be approved by this fall.
Horváth now predicts it will be mid-2014 before all the details are ironed out, meaning the earliest Schulich could open in Hyderabad would be two years from now. In the meantime, Schulich has forged a partnership with the philanthropic arm of India’s GMR Group, the infrastructure company that has agreed to build Schulich’s Indian campus. Under the temporary arrangement, students will spend a year studying in India before coming to Toronto to complete their degrees.
Solving mysteries from car crashes to stage collapses
From our 2013 Professional Schools issue
Before the hit series CSI, there was the Canadian documentary show Exhibit A, which traced the ways investigators had used high-tech scientific analysis to solve real-life crimes. As a teenager, Shannon Kroeker enjoyed the show so much she considered forensic sciences as a career. When it came time to choose, she opted for what seemed more realistic: mechanical engineering at Queen’s University. Nonetheless, at 33, she now spends her days doing detective work just like on the show.
Kroeker is a forensic engineer for the firm MEA in Vancouver, where she combines expertise in injury biomechanics (her Ph.D. involved prodding human tissue) with witness statements, photographs and medical reports to explain the impact of car crashes on human bodies. For example, how much did not wearing a seat belt contribute to an injury? She writes reports, usually for insurance company lawyers who are working to settle disputes. “When you’ve got all your clues and you have the ‘aha’ moment where you figure out what happened,” she says. “I find that really rewarding. It’s solving the mystery.”
Profession faces falling fees, stagnant pay and fewer jobs
From the 2013 Professional Schools issue.
Each year, just before Christmas, a cross-section of Toronto’s legal establishment gathers for what might be the only truly indispensible event on its calendar. “Beef Night” is as old as the venerable Lawyers Club—est. 1922—and its name has hooves in the literal and figurative worlds. Fuelled by free beer, and by suppressed frustration, members rise during this banquet of prime rib to air “beefs” about the alternative dimension they inhabit. It might be the parsimony of the attorney general of the day. Or it might be the chafing effect of shabbily tailored robes.
The best “beefs” are rewarded with roasts donated by the Loblaws grocery chain, and the worst gets a turkey, but winning is never the point. A few years back, a barbershop quartet of articling students brought down the house with a ditty skewering their puffed-up bosses at a Bay Street firm—most of whom were seated in the room—illustrating the evening’s traditional function as a leveller in a rank-obsessed profession. Any beef that runs too long gets gonged out with a cowbell that echoes through the rafters of Osgoode Hall Law School’s regal Convocation Hall, whether it’s delivered by a junior associate or a Supreme Court justice.
Economy built on manufacturing now relies on housing
TORONTO – Two years after graduating from college with an accounting degree, Amanda Coombes expected to be working full-time in her field. Instead, she’s living with her mom and working at McDonald’s.
These days, in hard-hit Ontario, a job is a job.
“It’s hard for us,” Coombes, 23, said of the challenges she and her fellow graduates face in their search for work in their chosen field. Older applicants, some laid off after 25 years in the business, offer life and work experience that make them formidable rivals.
“We’re competing with people who have been trying to find work and have three times the amount of experience as we do.”
Coombes is among the casualties of Ontario’s precipitous decline from the country’s economic engine to its most populous have-not province.
Most aren’t confident about finding jobs after graduation
The Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) says the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well among young Canadians.
According to the bank, almost half of Canadian post-secondary students surveyed — 46 per cent — said they see themselves starting a business after graduation.
BMO said that some see their planned new business as a primary source of income while others see it as a secondary source.
The findings came out of a survey conducted by Pollara, which asked Canadian post-secondary students about career prospects and their aspirations to own their own business.
The results found less than a third of those surveyed — just 29 per cent — were very confident they could find a job in their own field after graduation.