All Posts Tagged With: "career"
Unemployment rate falls to 7.0 per cent
Statistics Canada says Canada’s economy lost 21,900 jobs last month but the official unemployment rate fell slightly as many people stopped looking for work.
The agency says 57,500 Canadians left the labour market last month, pushing down the unemployment rate by one-tenth of a point to 7.0 per cent.
January’s numbers were even weaker than expected, following two outstanding months of employment gains that saw 100,000 jobs created.
Still, the agency notes that there were 286,000 more Canadians working last month than a year earlier, with the increase all in full-time employment.
Almost all the jobs lost in January were in educational services and manufacturing, the agency says.
Ontario and British Columbia were responsible for almost all the reversals, losing 31,200 and 15,900 jobs respectively.
Employers asked to accommodate new generation
Conventional wisdom would suggest that Jonathan Glencross has a bright and secure future ahead of him.
Anyone who completed an undergraduate degree from McGill University, established and developed a $2.5-million sustainability fund for the school while there and received national honours as an environmental advocate might well seem destined for the sort of career that would make any parent proud.
But Glencross believes conventional wisdom is no accurate gauge for the economic challenges he and his generation are facing. Since his graduation in 2011, the 25-year-old Montreal resident has not been able to carve out a niche on the traditional career path.
Jobs that make use of a modern-day skill set don’t pay the bills, while roles with greater financial security don’t address the priorities that the current generation holds dearest, he said.
Career expectations differ by generation
How much money do university students expect to make once they’re established in their careers?
The answer, revealed in a new study on the differences between generations’ career expectations, is one that Professor Sean Lyons, co-author of the study and University of Guelph business professor, finds “shocking.”
Millenial students, those are born in 1980 or later, expect average first-year salaries of $48,860 for men and $42,060 for women. That’s not much above what current university graduates actually make: $43,119 for men and $35,926 for women.
What’s surprising is that, after five years, Millenial women expect to make an average of $67,766 and Millenial men expect to rake in $84,868. To get there, men would need average annual salary increases of 14.8 per cent and women would need to grow their salaries 12.8 per cent per year. In real life, the average annual salary increase per year in more like three per cent.
FESCHUK: A few words of advice from a man who spent six years in school, for a four-year degree
It’s never made any sense that universities invite prominent people to deliver commencement addresses to graduates. Graduates don’t need advice. They’ve just spent four years acquiring wisdom, knowledge and a prestigious degree. A career at Starbucks is practically theirs for the taking.
The people who need guidance are the nervous high school students preparing to make the leap to a post-secondary institution. I therefore offer this “premencement” address to the class of 2015 . . .
Future graduates and assorted dropouts, cast-offs, washouts and Internet millionaires: you may think I can’t relate to you because I’m over 40. Poppycock and horsefeathers! I daresay you rapscallions and I share the commonality of affixing our knickerbockers one limb tube at a time.
Besides, so much about university life is eternal. The commitment to self-improvement. The reverence for the classics of literature. The godawful cafeteria food. For generations now, students have been asking, “Who was this Salisbury fellow and why are the steaks of him so tough and tasteless?”
Permit me to give you some dos and don’ts from my own personal experience. Pay keen attention—it’s not every day you get guidance from a person who spent six whole years at the University of Western Ontario . . . for which he ultimately received a four-year degree.
DO avoid early classes, especially the ones that begin at 8 o’clock in the morning—or any of the other o’clocks in the morning. I’m not saying I rarely made it to my 8 a.m. political science lecture, but to this day I believe political science involves the dissection of elected officials.
DON’T start a popular website in a fit of misogynistic rage or it will become the centrepiece of a major motion picture that makes the entire world think you’re a colossal douche. (Technically, I learned this not in school but by seeing The Social Network—still, it seems like a pretty important “don’t.”)
If possible, DO live in residence for your first year. Residence life will provide at least half your overall university enjoyment, 75 per cent of your hangovers and 100 per cent of your bedbug scars. Plus, it makes stalking incredibly convenient.
DON’T bring huge piles of sand into your dorm room for a beach party. It sounds like a good idea—but the sand is hard to get rid of, especially when you don’t try to get rid of it and you just leave it there.
DO push the academic boundaries. I developed the ability to take a friend’s eight-page essay and, without adding any words, turn it into it a 12-page essay—with no obvious signs of padding like huge fonts, wide margins or entire Led Zeppelin songs passed off as relevant quotations. I was kind of like the Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction, except instead of murders I helped “clean up” academic lethargy. And that one murder.
DON’T agree to live with just anyone. Your roommates will see you at your worst, assuming they can crane their necks around the six-foot stack of dishes and glasses and—wait, did something just move in there?
In one important way, times have changed since I was in school. In the ’80s and early ’90s, we could get stinking drunk and blindingly stupid in the privacy of our own throw-up. Not anymore. Had I been born 20 years later, I’d be the unwilling star of a Facebook group entitled Drunken Spandau Ballet Impersonation Fail.
So by all means DO wear a balaclava. Wear it when you go out drinking. Wear it when you stay home drinking. Wear it when you engage in other youthful nonsense like cutting class or voting NDP. The most important thing you can get out of your university experience is an education. The next most important thing? Plausible deniability.
Class of 2015: university is an undertaking you will remember for the rest of your life, especially on weekends when you’re doing community service for that indecent exposure conviction.
Never forget that you have worked for this. You have studied for this. Many of you have cheated off the Internet for this.
One final don’t: DON’T hurry. You are entering a bubble of personal freedom, attractive people and Red Bull. Enjoy it. And don’t worry—we’ll be sure to save all of the world’s problems for you to solve.
Sometimes no notes are the best kind for lecturing.
You can tell a lot about a university instructor from the notes that he uses in class. When I was an undergraduate my friends scoffed at profs who dragged out yellowed sheaves with text that had been pounded out on a manual typewriter decades before. By contrast, they revered those teachers who lectured brilliantly with no notes whatsoever. I never wanted to be the former, and now I am working at being the latter.
When I gave lectures as a graduate student, I prepared detailed notes for every class with full sentences and key words in bold. Just starting out, I was deathly afraid of seeming unprepared, or, worse, forgetting where I was and not knowing what to say, or worst of all, of running out of material before the class ended. Like all grad students, I feared deep down that I was a fraud and would be found out at any minute. I would psych myself up on the way to class by assuring myself that I was well prepared, and if I was going to be exposed as a fraud, it would not be today. So my notes offered a kind of security. I didn’t just read from my script, but I had the script there, just in case. In fact, if I got too nervous and forgot what I was going to say, I would read a few lines from what I had prepared and that would get me back on track.
That practice continued when I became a professor because, again, you want to make a good impression, and nothing makes a worse impression than seeming inexpert on the topic you’re supposed to be an expert in. Or so I thought. But a few years in, I had an experience that changed my attitude. I was preparing to teach a play I had not taught before and was pressed for time. I simply did not have the hours to prepare the kind of notes I always prepared before. And so, in desperation, I made only a brief outline for each of the scenes I wanted to talk about and the main ideas I wanted to address. As I went to class, much of my old grad-school anxiety came back, and I feared the worst. But to my astonishment, the class went better than any class that year. Without detailed notes, I spoke more freely about the play and students picked up on it. Since I was not so bound to my notes, the students felt more free to raise questions and make contributions, because they sensed they were not interrupting me.
That class marked a gradual turn in my teaching style and over the years I have come to rely on notes less and less. Even when I had notes prepared from years past — not yellowed but well-used — I relied on them less frequently, and in many classes, I had an old lecture prepared which differed significantly from the lecture I had come to give. Now, when I teach a new text, I often make only annotations in the margins of the book itself to remind myself of key points and talk without notes at all. It turns out that I actually know quite a bit about this subject I have spent my life studying, and finding enough to say simply isn’t a problem anymore. Moreover, not reading from notes leads to not standing in one place and sometimes not standing at all. And with their prof more relaxed and informal, students feel all the more willing to engage with with the text at hand. It’s less a lecture and more a guided conversation which is what I always wanted anyway. The new format actually takes more time because there is much more questioning and discussion.
Teaching in this less formal way has meant a change to the way I give exams. Since the factual material presented in class comes less systematically and more organically, I can’t rely on having covered a specific set of facts in any given week or even any given term. So my new exams will have fewer questions about specific knowledge and more questions that invite the application of a range of knowledge and skills. Such tests may be a little harder for students, but I’m hopeful that the more lively classes will better prepare them for these kinds of evaluations.
All this has worked in my case, and has come as a part of a process of constant reflection on how I want to teach, but I hasten to point out that a no-notes approach may not work for everyone. I’ve had profs who stuck close to their notes and were riveting. I’ve had others who should have had notes to stick to.
But as for me, it has been 15 years since I gave my first lecture, and I have never felt less like a fraud.
The social and economic consequences of letting boys fall behind
The trick to having a baby girl, according to researchers in the Netherlands, is a calcium- and magnesium-rich diet, full of hard cheese, rhubarb, spinach, canned salmon and tofu. It’s also important, claim the authors of the study, for women to steer clear of salty foods, potatoes and bananas. Though the study was based on a small sample, it wouldn’t be a shock if the results prompted prospective parents to stock their fridges accordingly.
As Robert Bly and others prophesied in the 1990s, when they retreated to the woods to beat drums and exhort men to embrace their inner caveman, the modern male is in danger of losing his way. The process apparently begins early. On average, boys earn lower marks, study less, and are more likely to repeat a grade than girls. Young men are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to graduate university than young women. And while they still dominate in engineering and computer science, men are outnumbered in most professional programs, including law and medicine.
Today, the average Canadian university campus is 58 per cent female. In fact, at some schools, men only make up about 30 to 35 per cent of the students. “Any country allowing 60/40 female-male college graduation rates is not putting its ‘best team’ forward,” argues Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail. “Men need a degree just to get to the starting line.
College has become the new high school; that degree is what employers look for as a guarantee of basic social and communication skills.”
Nobody worth listening to is calling for society to turn back the clock on the advances made by women in the last 40 years. Writing in the Observer last year, Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the London-based Higher Education Policy Institute, warned against simply ignoring the gap.
“It matters in the same way that 30 years ago it mattered that fewer girls went to university than boys,” he wrote. “Graduates, after all, tend to form the elites of society and, as women have come to dominate in higher education, we should expect these elites to change gender over time, too. That itself is no bad thing. What is intolerable is that significant numbers of young (and not so young) people are excluding themselves—or perhaps being excluded because of aspects of our school system—from joining these elites.”
Indira Samarasekera, the president of the University of Alberta, was more direct when she described the gender gap at post-secondary schools to the Edmonton Journal as a “demographic bomb.” She went on to say that programs to encourage female CEOs should take a backseat to a much bigger concern: “that we’ll wake up in 20 years and we will not have the benefit of enough male talent at the heads of companies and elsewhere.”
This is not to say that women run the world—yet. There’s no denying that a wage gap—and a glass ceiling—persists in the workplace. In Canada, even a young woman with a university degree earns about 90 cents to every dollar earned by a man with a similar level of education.
But women now experience lower unemployment rates than men, and one large-scale American study showed the start of the kind of change it has taken generations to accomplish. It found that childless urban women under the age of 30 earn, on average, eight per cent more than their male peers. The gap is even wider in places like New York City (17 per cent) and Los Angeles (12 per cent). Whether these same young women continue to lead the next decade will depend largely on how many of them decide to stay home full-time to raise children, or even just get off the fast track by moving to part-time. Still, a lot more young women than men have been able to take advantage of the higher earnings that come with higher levels of education.
As the number of stay-at-home dads has tripled in the last three decades, women are more and more the family’s primary breadwinners, a trend sped up by the recession, which struck male-dominated industries, including manufacturing and construction, the hardest. Men accounted for an estimated 71 per cent of the 400,000 jobs lost in Canada during the downturn. Thanks to a commitment to education, young women seem better positioned for the knowledge- and service-based economy of the future. The majority of the job sectors expected to grow the most in North America during the next decade are ones traditionally filled by women, such as nursing.
Watch for the turning point, and for opportunities outside your area of study
I’m getting together later this week with the guy who designed my website. We were both undergrads at the time and he was, I think, studying something in social science. Now he manages a team of web developers. The other day I spoke on the phone with another friend who graduated several years ago. He was in drama, and did odd jobs cutting grass and removing snow as his part-time job. Now he runs a successful landscaping business with nine trucks on the road. A good friend who started her first year in woman’s studies and subsequently rewrote the constitution and by-laws of our campus woman’s centre just joined me in law school. The list goes on and on.
It’s a long accepted truism of university education that most students don’t stay in the areas of study they declare as their minors, majors, and specialties. That isn’t news, right? Surely you don’t imagine that the thousands of students enrolled in psychology each year are all going to become psychologists in any sense. Or that the large number of English students will all become teachers, or English professors, or professional writers. For every student who ends up in a career that is logically connected to her field of study, there are probably two or three who end up doing something radically different. And that’s just fine.
One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that many students are far behind the curve on dealing with this fact. Right around when students are graduating, after their four (or more) years in university, they suddenly poke their heads up and say “hey, what am I going to do with this degree anyway?” And the career office hastens to reassure them that they can work in a variety of fields, and often cites the sorts of examples I led off with, and wishes them well. But the truth is that none of these stories, or the others I could mention, are the results of 11th hour panic. The students who moved smoothly into careers outside their areas of study are those who realized some time ago that their hobbies were turning into careers, and began to approach them as such.
As a new school year starts – whether your first or otherwise – I’d encourage all students to stay alert for the possibility that something you may think of as a distraction from your “real” work and career may in fact be turning into your work and your career. It may creep up on your accidentally but like any career it’s going to require some nurturing as well. You’ll want to start working on contacts who might employ you doing the thing you enjoy doing anyway, or explore necessary certifications, or fill in gaps in your training and experience. If you find yourself at the end of your degree and then start thinking about these things it’s already too late. (For those who are there already – better late than never – but it isn’t the way I’d recommend doing things all the same).
In terms of specific steps you might take to find a career where you hadn’t previously considered one, the possible scenarios are so varied I couldn’t possibly cover them all. But don’t dismiss your university resources as one source of advice and help, just because you’re doing something other than what you’ve studied. Universities may seem a little divorced from reality sometimes but not so much so that they haven’t realized their graduates are going into a diverse array of fields. You may find far more of relevance there than you’d ever have expected, and maybe even a contact or two to help you along.
Questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even the ones I don’t post will still receive answers, and where I do use them here I’ll remove identifying information.
Careful analysis might not be the best way to design your university career
I had always planned to take time off after high school to travel and work. I wanted to gain some life experience before deciding what I wanted to study for four years, I suppose because I subscribed to the “major = career” theory. The circumstances at the time didn’t let me do that, and here I am heading straight into university. While I’ve come to understand that your major certainly doesn’t have to equal your career, I still don’t know what I want to study or what kind of career I want to have. And I think taking time off would’ve helped me get a better idea of both of those things. So, if you can, I suggest taking some time off between high school and university.
If that’s not an option, you have to figure out some means of choosing courses (and yes, eventually, a major), that you find interesting and enjoyable and that hopefully lead you to an interesting career.
My method of choice, being an analytical, planner personality type (according to this impressively accurate personality test), has been to carefully consider what kind of lifestyle I want in the future and what kind of work I find rewarding and fulfilling, and to work backwards from there in terms of what kind of jobs offer those things and then what qualifications are needed to get those jobs. Kind of a painstaking process, but it’s the best I’ve been able to come up with.
Despite this reasonably thorough investigation, I still don’t really know what I want. I have a lot of ideas, but there are pieces missing. So, today I went to a professor and businessman I know seeking advice. He leads a lifestyle I think I would enjoy, he works on interesting and important projects, he’s very opinionated, and I respect his judgment very much.
Instead of the careful analysis I expected from a distinguished academic, his advice was refreshingly different, with an understated wisdom that I suppose is often overlooked by us analytical types. Simply, he said, take courses you will enjoy. Take the courses with the most girls in them! It’ll be fun. An undergraduate degree should teach you how to think well and communicate well; the content is less important.
So now I throw these factors into the mix. Follow your interests, have fun, and try to choose courses (or at least sit in on lectures) with professors who have a reputation for the way they think and teach – not necessarily what they teach. Along with a little careful analysis of your own, I think that’s a pretty good balance.
Yet another career ruined by Facebook
Young adults are staying in school longer, and accepting impermanent, no-benefits jobs
From The Toronto Star:
Generation Y grew up being told that if they were willing to work and study hard they could have it all: well-paying, fulfilling jobs that provided all the comforts.
But as they reached adulthood, secure jobs began vanishing, replaced by part-time, non-union work with little security, no benefits and odd hours. Then the financial crisis hit. Now, young adults are being forced to radically remake their life plans. They are staying in school longer to keep up with an “educational arms race” and accepting that life will be contract-to-contract, perhaps in different cities, and almost assuredly without benefits.
They are living in a purgatory of arrested adolescence, of delayed adulthood. They are unable to do what twenty-somethings have done for generations: settle into careers and start families.
Want a job that goes out of its way to make you happy? You’ve come to the right place
Do you get four weeks of holidays to start? How about an eight-week paid sabbatical every 10 years? Do you get your salary topped up to 100 per cent when you go on maternity leave? Subsidized on-site daycare? You don’t? Then you need to look closely at this year’s list of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
For the eighth year running, Maclean’s has partnered with Toronto publisher Mediacorp to bring you Canada’s most comprehensive independent study into workplace benefits. After reviewing the recruitment histories of more than 75,000 employers, and inviting about 16,000 of those to apply, Mediacorp managing editor Richard Yerema has produced a list of the 100 employers in Canada who offer the best places to work. To produce this listing, Yerema and his team assigned grades in seven key areas, including work atmosphere, family benefits, vacation and performance management. The result is a detailed picture of the latest trends in workplace perks, which is now available free of charge — complete with the reasons for each selection — on Mediacorp’s job-search site, Eluta.ca.
So what’s new this year? The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, for starters. Spies need benefits too, and for the first time ever, CSIS has made the Top 100 cut — thanks in part to its ethnic recruiting drives and maternity leave top-ups to 93 per cent of full pay. (Trican Well Service, another Top 100 company, offers even more, with top-ups to 100 per cent of pay.) Also new this year are several environmentally friendly programs, such as transit subsidies, secure bicycle parking facilities and even showers for workers who bike.
Many of the best benefits from prior years, such as longer vacations, on-site gyms and the option to convert unused benefits to cash, are back too. And yes, public relations firm Hill & Knowlton Canada returns for another year with their famous weekly office beer cart. Along with the in-house band for company functions offered by SAS Institute Canada Inc., that may be one of the least likely perks to catch on. But it’s nice to know that it’s there.
Go to: The top 100