All Posts Tagged With: "jobs"
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.
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.
Teacher’s college says we’re out of luck until 2015
I got a call from Montreal the other day. On the other line was a man who represented a teaching agency in London, England. He had seen my email and resumé and said that I could come over to teach after completing the required paperwork.
When I decided three years ago to follow my calling, moving across continents for a job was unfathomable. I predicted I would send out resumés after graduation, then a school board within a reasonable distance from my home would ask me to work for them full-time as a teacher, everything would be hunky dory and I would decorate my classroom with dry-erase markers of every colour (you can never have too many).
The above scenario was obviously a delusional fantasy.
I recently learned in an email from one of my instructors here at York University’s teacher’s college that, in keeping with regulations agreed to with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, school boards will essentially no longer be allowed to do external hiring until all current occasional teachers have had the opportunity to apply for available jobs. In other words, until the huge backlog of certified teachers—many of whom are fighting tooth and nail just to land a supply teaching gig—have had their shot at a full-time job, fresh teacher college younglings need not apply.
Clean-tech sector grows
For Chris Rogers, owner of Corporate Chemicals and Equipment in St. Catharines, Ont., the wake-up call came when his father Cecil was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 2000. Cecil, who owned the business before Chris took over, had worked in the industry since he was 18. “He opened my eyes to what he thought was the cause,” Rogers says: the vats of chemicals that surrounded Cecil through his working life. “I started to rethink things.” The company, which makes and sells sanitation supplies, started going green—a philosophy that’s affected everything from products to marketing and, of course, its employees. “The green chemistry of today is the everyday chemistry of tomorrow,” he says. The same could be true of green jobs.
Canada’s green economy is growing fast. Our clean-technology sector, made up of more than 700 companies, saw an 11 per cent jump in employment between 2008 and 2010, according to a January report from the Pembina Institute, a non-profit environmental think tank. Once considered a niche, the green-jobs sector is now comparable to the booming oil and gas extraction sector, and has exceeded the aerospace industry, says a 2012 report from Analytica Advisors, an Ottawa-based consulting firm that specializes in clean energy.
Canada’s “green-collar jobs” aren’t just found at clean-technology firms. More than 12 per cent of the Canadian workforce “has some sort of environmental initiatives within its work,” says Grant Trump, CEO of the non-profit ECO Canada. Another four per cent of the workforce spends more than 50 per cent of its time on environmental activities, he says. And 17 per cent of Canadian companies—318,000 in total—employ one or more environmental professional.
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.”
Networking, resume and interview tips from a pro
This week’s Maclean’s includes a special report on the future of jobs that shows how university graduates have an especially difficult time launching their careers in today’s shaky economy. But you have to start somewhere, and there are plenty of things you can do to boost your chances of getting hired. Just ask Stéfan Danis, a man with 25 years of recruiting experience who is now Chief Talent Officer & CEO of the firm Mandrake. In this interview, he offers advice for recent graduates.
I hear stories of graduates who have applied to hundreds of jobs online, and with little success. How can graduates get interviews?
Networking. What you should do is get a board of advisers who are a little bit more senior than you. You set up a little network around yourself so that they can open doors for you. Simply sending your resume in response to job postings is not going to get great outcomes just because of the sheer [volume of] competition. It’s very difficult to stand out from the crowd.
Tell me more about this ‘board of advisers’ idea.
Let’s assume you want to be a marketer for a consumer products company. Do a bit of research through your alumni network or personal contacts or using LinkedIn. Target 10 individuals who are maybe two or three years into their careers—so you’re not a threat. If you reach out to them, hat in hand, inviting them to give some counsel, offering to buy them a coffee so you can pick their brains and build relationships with them, when there’s a need for a junior person in the marketing role at their company or elsewhere, they’ll provide you with an extraordinary amount of information.
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.
Universities aren’t doing much to help students plan careers
From the 2013 Student Issue on sale now.
Mike St. Jean is in his seventh year of political science at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. “I still don’t even know what I can do with my degree,” he says. “I can get a job in government or elections, but other than that, the transition seems hard to lay out. I read books and analyze them. What does that mean to the real world?”
It’s not as if it hit him suddenly. The question “What’s next?” is one of the reasons he dropped down to part-time studies in year four of his degree. Another reason was that he needed time for his part-time job and his work with the Argus student newspaper, where he’s now an editor.
Lakehead’s counsellors haven’t helped. He only visited them once, years ago, and was told to consider a master’s in English or an education degree. “I don’t know how many jobs there are for teachers,” he says. What he does know is that a friend who took education moved to England because she couldn’t find work here. A master’s didn’t strike him as a good plan, either; he’s seen multiple master’s graduates and one Ph.D. apply for low-wage jobs at the Subway where he works. Professors are encouraging, but they don’t offer career advice. His parents want to help, but “they think university is about curing cancer and rocket science,” he says. “They have no idea what I’m in.”
What’s wrong with well-educated coffee servers?
The easiest punchline for media commentators on higher education these days is that we have university graduates working as baristas in coffee houses. Sometimes the assumption is that it’s mainly the arts grads consigned to this humiliating fate, and even this piece by Leo Charboneau, which does a generally good job of pointing out the hysteria over youth underemployment, still concedes the bachelor’s-barista link.
It’s time to drop this trope. And not just because it’s too easy.
For one thing, it makes the same old mistake of thinking that the only reason to have a degree is to get a “good” job. We all know that there is more to life than earning a living, and just about every bit of research we have suggests that wealth does not correlate in a meaningful way with happiness—and yet writers go on pretending that the only thing a sane person would want in this world is a hefty pay packet.
As for a good job, why do we so blithely accept that good means high-paying. I’m not at all convinced that barista is a worse job than being, say, an accountant. Is preparing coffee is necessarily a worse job than preparing lay-off notices? Is it really “blind” as one particularly harsh commentator has said, to pursue your dreams even amid economic uncertainty?
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.
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.
How online dating taught me to wary of my web presence
One man who messaged me on Craigslist was in his third year of engineering at the University of Toronto and he seemed like a decent guy. We arranged to meet a few days later and, naturally, I decided to put his name into Google.
Imagine my surprise when his name and phone number brought up multiple crude profiles on gay male escort websites complete with headshots.
Of course I was worried that he might be a male escort. But another part of me was worried for this stranger. What if he was set up by someone out to hurt his professional reputation? Given all the horror stories I’d read about identity theft on the Internet, that conclusion didn’t seem like a huge stretch.
I didn’t grow up engulfed in the social media machine. I got my first cellphone in my first year of university. I got Facebook at 16, and I’m still not sure about the fascination with Instagram. But I’m painfully aware that every single thing we put online is a tool, whether it’s a photo or something we write. Anyone can take these tools to construct an image of us, and these images may not be flattering. In fact, some of them can be damaging, hurtful, or malicious.
Expert tips from a York University career workshop
“How do you write a general cover letter?” asked a student during the brainstorming session of a cover letter workshop I attended last Friday at York University in Toronto.
“We generally don’t recommend that,” Liz Cook, the workshop’s leader, diplomatically replied. “A general cover letter won’t sell your skills.”
Next question: “Okay then, how do I modify the general cover letter?” Cook’s patient answer: “Don’t use a template. Writing a new cover letter for each job is time consuming, but worth it.”
The basic fact that cover letters are the only chances we get to sell our biggest accomplishments, unique personalities and divine fits for particular jobs seemed lost on many of these students at the beginning of the workshop. But after 90 minutes with Cook, they sounded much more capable of writing targeted cover letters that will get picked out of the stacks. Students should make every effort to attend a workshop like this one before graduation. For those who can’t, here are seven cover letter tips I learned on Friday:
1. Write a new one for each employer.
Employers have told York’s Career Centre that many students submit applications that show no knowledge of their companies. The cover letter should draw connections between the applicants skills/experiences and what each employer specifically needs. If there’s a job posting, read it.
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.
Where to learn about job prospects and pay
It’s the time of year when students start looking for summer jobs. This inevitably leads to despair about what the heck they’re going to do after graduation too. So where to start? Your Job Makes Me Jealous is one good place to explore. Here are several other websites that can help Canadian students narrow down their options.
This federal government website is a rich source of high-quality information about how much jobs pay is various parts of Canada. For example, if I search “journalist” under the “Wages” tab, I can see that the median hourly pay is $26 nationwide, higher in Edmonton and lower in Saskatchewan.
The “Outlook” tab, which offers research on job prospects, is a little less useful because it’s incomplete. It shows me that the chances of journalists finding employment are “limited” in Nova Scotia, but reports are missing for Ontario. More info is available for some careers, so try it.
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.
Drake graduates, Sandy kills, & good news for graduates
1. At least 17 people died due to Superstorm Sandy, which came ashore in New Jersey and spread across eastern North America Monday, knocking out power in many places, including parts of New York City. It was a serious storm with sad consequences for many, but that didn’t stop students at shut-down U.S. colleges from celebrating their “hurrication.” Here in Canada, at least one person was killed when a piece of a Staples store sign in Toronto came lose and struck a woman standing underneath. Classes were cancelled on Monday evening at Brock University and Niagara College, but both reopened on Tuesday. Many flights are cancelled today.
2. Drake, the much-loved and occasionally hated Canadian rap superstar, is making headlines for the high school graduation speech he gave this weekend Jarvis Collegiate Institute in Toronto. The 26-year-old dropped out of school at age 15 to pursue an acting job with Degrassi: The Next Generation. He said on Sunday that the lack of diploma left a “gaping hole” in his life, so he spent the past five months finishing the work. Why would a millionaire want to finish high school? “This is about the art of following through,” he told the crowd.
3. A Republican student group at an Ohio university has apologized for using the song Fake Empire by The National in a pro-Romney video they posted on YouTube. This after frontman Matt Berninger posted a testy response: “We encourage all students to educate themselves about the differences between the inclusive, pro-social, compassionate, forward-thinking policies of President Obama and the self-serving politics of the neo-conservative movement and Mitt Romney.”
Prof. Pettigrew: It’s nice work, if you can stand getting it.
Todd Pettigrew is an associate professor of English at Cape Breton University.
Have you ever looked at the front of your lecture hall or into a professor’s office and thought, “That looks like a pretty good gig”? Probably not. But if you have, you may have wondered how you get from where you are to where your professor is. As you might imagine, it’s neither easy to get there nor always as much fun as it looks. Still, if you’re interested, here’s what it looks like.
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.
Voyeur arrested, three-year degrees & pipeline politics
1. Canada added 52,100 jobs in September, which is not bad at all. The unemployment rate edged up to 7.4 per cent, but only because more people were looking for work. The job gains were concentrated in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. Men, whose prospects had diminished most during the 2009 recession, did well too. Also good news: the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 per cent after 114,000 jobs were added in September.
2. Police in London, Ont. have arrested Bradley Priestap, 47, who they suspect committed a series of crimes near Western University. The suspect has a history of other convictions. He faces 17 counts, including trespassing and breaking and entering to commit voyeurism.
3. The Ontario government is considering an overhaul in post-secondary education and one of the ideas floated is three-year degrees. Many observers were quick to oppose the idea, but Ontario’s colleges say they would be happy to provide them. See their argument here.