All Posts Tagged With: "A generation in crisis"
See the 20 occupations with projected worker shortages
Much has been written about the plight of the recent university graduate. She is over-educated, underemployed, and staring down an uncertain job market; the promise of a stable position was the last generation’s reality, not hers.
A newly-released report from the American non-profit Center for College Affordability and Productivity suggests almost half of all graduates work in jobs for which they are overqualified.
In Canada, the situation doesn’t seem quite as dire, but during the last year for which there are numbers, 2006, about one in four university-educated workers was in a position that didn’t require a degree. As Chris Sorensen and Charlie Gillis pointed out in “The New Underclass”, this proportion is believed to be even higher now.
But there must be jobs somewhere, right? In 2011, The Canadian Occupational Projection System (administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) developed a detailed, 10-year labour market projections report that focuses on the estimated trends in labour supply and demand between 2011 and 2020.
Broken into occupational groups, the report determines which jobs are projected to have an excess of positions and which will have an excess of workers. The chart below details 20 of the occupations expected to see the greatest worker shortages between now and 2020. Note: They are not the positions where there are the most jobs, but the areas in which the chances of getting a job (due to the number of job openings exceeding the number of job seekers) are greater. Interestingly, only three require university-level education.
While the projections provide hope for some, they also reveal occupations for which the number of job seekers far outweigh the number of positions. To those seeking employment in the following fields (just to name a few): consider becoming a tailor.
- Management in communication.
- Managers in art, culture, recreation and sport.
- Physical science professionals.
- Athletes, coaches, etc.
- Machine operators and related works in pulp and paper production, wood processing, and workers in fabric, fur and leather.
- Machining, metalworking, woodworking and related machine operators.
What the experts are saying about the new jobs reality
CBC’s new Doc Zone documentary Generation Jobless covers some familiar terrain: well-educated young Canadians can’t find jobs and are instead stuck in serving jobs or cycling through unpaid internships. It’s much the same story Maclean’s covered here in The New Underclass. The show did, however, add some interesting ideas to the conversation. Here are five things I learned from watching it.
1. Master’s degrees make some people less employable because employers know the graduate’s pay expectations will be higher, says Lauren Friese, owner of the job site TalentEgg.
2. Technology giants aren’t our saviours. They’re not creating as many new jobs as we think. Facebook, LinkedIn, Groupon and Twitter combined employ just 20,000 people.
3. Even in economically choppy Europe, there are places with virtually no youth unemployment. Switzerland is one. There only 20 per cent of students are admitted to university, half as many as in Canada. Most start three-year apprenticeships at age 18 anywhere from factories to banks.
4. Futurist Thomas Frey says that jobs won’t be common in the future. Instead, the average person will have worked on hundreds of small projects by the time they’re 30. It’s also predicted that technology just over the horizon, like self-driving cars, will put even more people out of work.
5. Canada is rare among western nations in having no national strategy matching education and training to jobs. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, says a national strategy isn’t needed because education and training is the purview of the provinces.
Readers react to assertion that graduates have no future
Last week’s Maclean’s cover story declared that a generation of well-educated, ambitious, smart young Canadians has no future. Many Canadians agree with that assertion, others don’t. Yesterday we offered a sampling of letters we received. Of the more than 200 responses that have flooded in online so far, here are some of the most interesting.
James Knight, President & CEO of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges published this letter:
The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) disagrees with Maclean’s case that an entire generation of talented young Canadians have no employment future.
By working with industry, Canada’s public colleges, institutes and polytechnics are innovating, engaging in applied research and bridging skills gaps so that students gain employment in well-paying careers. College graduates find positions in everything from health care to engineering, from information and communications technology to business and entrepreneurship, and from construction to green technologies. Virtually every employment opportunity is supported by a college program.
College graduates find jobs. Depending on the region, 83 to 95 percent of Canadian college grads can look forward to working in their field within six months of graduation.
Does an entire generation of young people have no future?
Last week’s cover story, “The New Underclass: Why so many smart, educated, ambitious young people have no future” hit a nerve with readers. Some thought it was dead on, others through it was exaggerated, arguing that there are jobs out there. Here are some of the best responses sent in by mail, email and through social media:
Thank you for shedding some light on the way our education system has failed Canadian students (“The new underclass”, Society, Jan. 21). When I retired from the skilled trades a few years ago, the average age of tradesmen in Ontario was approaching 58 years of age. Yet still the education system was promoting a university degree as the best path forward. Skilled trades in Canada have been stigmatized by our education system, and it really came to a peak when special needs students came into the public education system and they were channelled into the “technical stream” and called something like “life skills.” That ended any interest normal students might have developed in following the technical stream as a path to the skilled trades.
Dave Bradley, Cargill, Ontario
During my 20-year career as a college professor, I observed the steady obsession by community colleges to become second-rate universities in staffing requirements, course content and political posturing. As well, my exposure to universities’ academic practices allowed me to learn of a fatal flaw in their philosophies of management. As an invited participant in committee processes at university, I was told what the students did with their education upon graduation was not a concern of the university, and that my recommendation of a “needs assessment” for a proposed new degree was not relevant or required. So now today’s students are processed by factory-like institutions that focus mainly on their own marketing-driven management mandarins. We must better define the specific roles, behaviours and outcomes of these publicly funded institutions. A structural and philosophical paridigm shift of the utmost magnitude is in order.
Neil O. Foster, Algonquin Highlands, Ont.
Why a generation of well-educated Canadians has no future
Melanie Cullins is no pipe dreamer. She chose a vocation that, by unanimous opinion, represented a path to steady employment—teaching English as a second language to the thousands of immigrants pouring into B.C., a good many of whom, the experts predicted, would be making their way to Victoria, where she grew up and wished to make a home. That was back in the early 2000s, when opportunities for the young and industrious appeared unlimited. A rewarding career seemed within reach for all.
Cullins’s degree in applied linguistics was the gold standard of ESL qualifications. But she graduated in the thick of the 2008 financial meltdown, and the entry-level position she imagined would launch her career never materialized. Governments cut back on language transition programs. Resumés piled up in recruitment offices. Her calls to program directors went unanswered. “For me, that was a huge blow,” she says. “I had almost perfect performance reviews from my practicums, but I couldn’t even get an interview. You start to wonder: what’s wrong with me?”
Your university degree may be worth less than you think
The message to young people is simple. If you want an extra million dollars, maybe more, just get a university degree. Your lifetime earnings will be at least that much more than those of someone with only a high school education. Or so says the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), quoting the 2006 census.
The university establishment does not lack confidence on this matter. In September 2012, Paul Davidson, president of the AUCC, quoted a more impressive statistic: “While it is true that tuition has increased in recent years, so too has the value of a degree. The income premium of a university degree is large and growing. University graduates will on average earn $1.3 million more during their careers than a high school graduate and $1 million more than a college grad.”