All Posts Tagged With: "employment"
New statistics counter the popular narrative
Since the recession, so the story goes, almost all 27-year-old university graduates are sitting in mom’s or dad’s basement playing Guitar Hero, firing off job applications and ranting on Facebook about how they’d be better off as plumbers.
This has become such accepted wisdom that when Allan Rock, president of the University of Ottawa, argued in a speech last week that it is, in fact, a myth, the Ottawa Citizen saw it as news.
Newly-released Statistics Canada charts of unemployment rates by education among 25 to 29-year-olds back up Rock’s point. Last year, university graduates were more likely than anyone else in that age group to be employed and just as likely to be working as the same age group was back in 2005 when no one fretted about jobs.
Policy paper challenges benefits of working while in school
It is well known that many students are required to work in-study (while in school) to pay for post-secondary education. As the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance’s recently released Student Employment paper points out, the in-study employment rate has gradually risen over time. Labour force participation rates for current university students have increased by more than 10 per cent since 1976.
Curiously, not everyone agrees that this is a problem. Some point out that the National Survey on Student Engagement has shown some in-study employment can be correlated to increased levels of active and collaborative learning. This should surprise no one. Real world employment opportunities have always been helpful to student learning, which is why nearly every university wants to offer more experiential learning.
However, it must also be recognized that not every in-study experience is particularly useful. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine the scientists of the future describing their tenure at Starbucks as particularly fundamental to their training. Unfortunately, this type of in-study employment is all too typical.
Employment drops in six of 10 provinces
Canada experienced the worst jobs performance in almost four years last month as 54,500 full time, private sector positions disappeared — an unexpectedly big drop that erased a gain in February.
The loss was the biggest since February 2009, and along with a small retreat in the number of Canadians looking for work, helped lift the unemployment rate two-tenths of a point to 7.2 per cent.
Economists had expected a weak March to even out the above-trend gains of February, but few saw such massive bleeding, leaving the country with about 26,000 fewer jobs than at the beginning of the year.
To make matters worse, all the pay-back was in the full-time category.
The losses in the economically important private sector were mammoth — with 85,400 workers joining the ranks of the unemployed.
Skills mismatch may mean 1.5 million vacancies by 2016
On a recent February evening, Karl Eve received an emergency call from a restaurant owner in Canmore, Alta. The busy eatery had suddenly found itself with no hot water, even though the basement hot water tanks appeared to be working fine. A plumber with 10 years’ experience, Eve eventually traced the problem to a malfunctioning dishwasher and got the hot water flowing again—much to the owner’s relief.
It’s the sort of detective work Eve says he loves about his job. He also likes that his plumbing business, which he runs with his wife in nearby Exshaw, provides his family with a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. But it was a career he very nearly missed. Never a fan of textbooks, Eve ended up toiling in a southern Ontario gypsum mine after high school. It was only after moving to Alberta years later that he considered a career in the trades. A chance meeting at a church potluck led to a ride-along with a local plumber and, ultimately, an apprenticeship. “I discovered there was a lot to learn, especially when it came to math,” Eve says of his four years of training, which included eight weeks a year in a classroom. “The amount of education was very surprising to me, but in a positive way. I grasped it with both hands, so to speak.”
Eve’s story is more rare than it should be in Canada. Many consider the trades to be low-paying, go-nowhere jobs, if they consider them at all. But it’s a perception not grounded in reality, as Eve’s healthy hourly rate of $90 to $135 suggests. Nor is it one Canada can afford to maintain. Numerous studies warn Canada is facing a massive shortage of skilled workers over the next few decades as millions of baby boomers hit retirement age and exit the workforce.
Prof. Pettigrew says it isn’t a lack of skills training
Earlier this month, student Mercedes Mueller caught my eye with this provocative open letter to Canadian university presidents, accusing them of having failed students by not paying enough attention to their “career ambitions.”
Here’s the key bit:
Universities pride themselves on teaching students critical thinking and reasoning skills. Yet upon entering the workforce, many grads have little to offer employers in terms of “skills.” Skills, primarily associated with the hands-on learning done at colleges, are a severely lacking component of university curricula. When one considers that the majority of BA graduates would like to enter the workforce without having to obtain further degrees, learning a skill or two in undergrad isn’t asking a lot.
Students come to university to get a job, she explains, and thus deserve to have “degrees worth more than the paper they are printed on.”
Colleges create programs in response to industry demand
Amy Gordon was in the middle of completing her second university degree when she decided to go to college instead. Gordon already had a degree in biology from the University of Alberta, and was studying chemical engineering at the University of Calgary. “I was getting really tired of learning lecture-style theory. I had an itch to get more hands-on and learn more,” says the 29-year-old.
So she left U of C, and is now nearing the end of a two-year diploma program in instrumentation engineering at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton. Gordon has been getting the hands-on training she wanted in labs supported by—and named after—Spartan Controls Ltd. The company has poured about $8-million worth of equipment into the program since 2007, essentially creating labs that replicate what it’s like to work in a refinery, giving students access to training on new technology.
Ryerson supports startups with Digital Media Zone
Phil Jacobson thought getting a business degree would help open doors on Bay Street.
He didn’t expect it would also help him become a big wig on Main Street.
“I figured, out of all the undergrad possibilities that were out there, a business degree would position me as the most well-rounded coming out of school,” said the 22-year-old president and co-founder of mobile app PumpUp.
“So I could either start something or get a great job and just have those good skills.”
After graduating last summer from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., Jacobson decided that his dream wasn’t to get poached by a big financial firm. Instead, he wanted to continue working for himself.
And he’s not alone.
Fifth of employers plan to add workers
Canadian employers expect the hiring climate to hold steady in the second quarter, dipping slightly from the previous quarter, according to an employment survey by Manpower Inc.
The poll of 1,900 employers from various sectors found that 20 per cent plan to hire workers in the three-month period from April to June.
Five per cent said they anticipate cutbacks to hiring, while 75 per cent said they will keep existing staffing levels.
Overall, the poll found that the net employment outlook was 12 per cent, a small decline of one percentage point from the first quarter of 2013.
Ontario and B.C. show biggest gains
Canada’s economy showed signs it may be ready to bust out of its half-year funk by churning out a surprisingly strong 50,700 new jobs in February, most of them full-time, in the private sector and in Ontario.
The outsized gain was enough to keep the unemployment rate at the four year low of 7.0 per cent despite the fact over 60,000 Canadians joined the labour force in the month, another good signal for the economy.
Regionally, Ontario was the biggest generator of new jobs, adding 35,300, followed by British Columbia with an increase of 19,800. Quebec had the biggest drop in employment, shedding 13,100 jobs.
Economists had expected a second weak month in February given that most indicators have been pointing to modest growth and January saw an outright loss of nearly 22,000 jobs. The forecast had been for about 8,000 new jobs.
But instead the labour market reversed all the negative signals sent out in January, and then some. Not only did job gains swamp the previous month’s losses, but Canadians who had exited the labour force returned with a vengeance.
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?”
But numbers are increasing
Well-paid jobs are luring more women to the rigs and vessels that draw oil from the ocean floor more than 300 kilometres east of St. John’s, N.L., but life offshore is still very much a man’s world.
At any given time there are more than 700 workers toiling in all kinds of weather at the major Hibernia, Terra Nova and SeaRose sites. Only about five per cent of them are women, and even fewer hold jobs outside of housekeeping or the kitchens, says the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
And while government and industry efforts to boost those numbers have seen more women enter training that could lead them offshore, there are persistent barriers. They include the stark reality that many women with young children can’t see themselves working a schedule of three weeks on, three weeks off that takes them away from home for six months of the year.
Unemployment rate at four-year low
The Canadian economy created 40,000 jobs in December — all of it in full-time work — and drove the unemployment rate to its lowest in four years, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Ontario accounted for about three-quarters of the jobs added across Canada in December and almost all of the other provinces either saw gains or stayed even. The only exception was Nova Scotia, which lost 5,000 jobs.
“We’ve seen pretty good numbers in four of the last five months, so it does look like there is a bit of strength percolating up late in 2012,” said Doug Porter, the Bank of Montreal’s deputy chief economist.
He noted the month-to-month moves in the overall number of jobs can be volatile.
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.
Largest growth in Nfld., N.S. and Sask.
Statistics Canada says average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees rose to $909 in October, up 0.9 per cent from September.
On a year-over-year basis, earnings were up 2.8 per cent. That reflected a number of factors, including wage growth and changes in the composition of employment by industry as well as the average number of hours worked.
The average number of weekly hours worked in October was 33.2 — up from 33.1 in September and 33.0 in October 2011.
Accommodation and food services, construction, retail trade and public administration all saw year-over-year growth above the national average.
For example, average weekly earnings in accommodation and food services totalled $372 in October, up 5.8 per cent from the same month last year.
Average weekly earnings were higher in every province, but the largest wage growth was in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
Students: Be proactive and prepare for The Hunger Games
William Johnson is coordinator, off-campus outreach and engagement at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ont. where he’s responsible for event management, student engagement and communications.
When I speak to students about career development and social media, I want them to take away that they need to be proactive if they want to increase their chances of post-graduate career success. In 2012, there are far too many university graduates annually for current students to put off thinking about their post-grad life until the day after their convocation. If you want to make a smooth transition from pupil to professional, you must constantly be seeking ways to set yourself apart from the cohort.
1. Realize you’re still a hot commodity
You need to recover the pride and excitement you had when you were first accepted to university. While recent public sentiment might suggest that the degree is losing its value, there are over 600,000 more jobs for graduates in May 2012 than pre-2008 recession (a sharp increase in employment prospects). Despite this increase, employers are still paying individuals with degrees premium wages, according to Statistics Canada and the Boudarat, Lemieux and Riddell study. A university degree may not be for everyone, but higher employability and income can almost certainly be the result for everyone obtaining one.
Unemployment drops to 7.2 per cent
Canada’s economy generated a surprisingly strong 59,300 new jobs last month, almost all full time and in the private sector, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The unexpectedly robust performance dropped the country’s unemployment rate 0.2 points to 7.2 per cent, the lowest it has been since June.
The strength of the November report was a welcome surprise.
Economists had anticipated a modest about 10,000 net gain as the economy weathers considerable headwinds from abroad — notably Europe, the United States and China.
In the third quarter, Canada posted the weakest quarter of growth — 0.6 per cent — in more than a year and analysts expect only a modest bounce-back during the current fourth quarter.
Study shows which occupations are in high, low demand
A CIBC report released Monday suggests Canada’s economic prosperity is at risk due to a labour market split that sees high-demand positions go unfilled while lower-skilled workers languish in unemployment.
“We have people without jobs and jobs without people,” said author and deputy economist Benjamin Tal.
The mismatch of companies unable to hire and people unable to find work is “simply big enough to impact the economy as a whole, our productivity, our potential growth and therefore our standard of living in the future,” Tal said.
The CIBC report breaks down the labour market divide into 25 “have” and 20 “have-not” occupations.
It says the health and science fields, natural resources extraction, plumbing, social work, psychology and even the clergy are among the sectors that have openings, but not the people to fill them.
Plus a top recruiter’s advice on how to stand out
A chocolate cake. A tea set. A Lego mosaic. These are just a few of the stand-out job applications that have landed on the desks of recruiters at Vancouver-based social media company HootSuite.
Applying for a new job is daunting. Throw in a dour economy and a lacklustre job market and it’s enough to make any recent grad want to throw in the towel. To get the attention of some of the most popular companies out there, it takes creativity, says Ambrosia Humphrey, HootSuite’s director of human resources. The cake, the tea set and the Lego mosaic “showed that the candidates were thinking outside of the box,” she says, “and all of those positions called for something like that.”
Not every company will appreciate a Lego mosaic, but that’s where Humphrey’s other advice comes into play. “Not tailoring your application is the biggest mistake we come across,” she says, adding, “when someone has just changed the title of the position and company, we can tell.”
Humphrey says it’s important to do your homework. Find out what the employer is looking for and make sure your application addresses that. For example, a video producer might create a video resume. “We get a lot of these,” she says. They can perfectly show off a video producer’s skills. Starting a social media campaign to apply for a social media role makes sense too.
But be careful. Make sure creative additions are backed up with research and experience. Otherwise, it can come across as gimmicky, says Humphrey. “Tell me what problem you’re going to solve for my company or tell me how you’re going to add value to the position you’re applying for.”
Here are five creative applications that impressed Humphrey with her comments on each:
Shortage of work blamed
A survey of Canadians from 18 to 80 found that respondents in the earliest stage of their adult lives are more likely to stress over money than anyone else as they struggle to nail down good jobs.
The online survey — conducted for Sun Life Financial — found nine out of 10 respondents aged 18 to 24 experience “uncomfortable” levels of stress, with money and work two of the biggest factors.
Those in the next age brackets aren’t doing much better, with 80 per cent of respondents between 25 and 44 indicating they are also stressed to the max from job and financial concerns.
Online rants could hurt my future career
Writing was always an outlet for me. Whenever I felt emotionally constipated, I would grab my laptop and write my heart out. On top of the work I did as News Editor at Excalibur, York University’s student paper, I’d type out angry rants, poorly written fiction, and hazy recollections of childhood. One day I had the pompous idea that other people might like what I write, so I started blogging.
I ranted about unpaid internships, experiences in teacher’s college, and other embarrassing parts of my life. I managed to reconnect with a few old high school friends who came across my writing. My former teachers encouraged me to keep updating my blog. I was flattered that people were taking time to read my work. I was proud.
About four months and 30-odd posts later, I shut it down. Here’s why.