Generation Jobless?

Generation Jobless, The Economist, April 27th - May 3rd 2013

When Amanda finished her studies, she was filled with hope and optimism about her future in the job market. “What will I do? Who will I be?” she asked herself. It seemed like there was so much to discover and accomplish. However, several months after graduation, Amanda was still jobless, with no opportunities on the horizon. Her parents had tried to help but nothing  was working. That’s when reality hit home; perhaps starting a career wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be? Amanda is not the only millennial struggling to launch her career. A quick glance at newspapers reveals headlines such as “Generation Jobless” and “Young, Employed and Giving Up Hope.” Here are some of the facts facing Amanda and her peers:

  • Recession: Youth between the ages of 15 and 24 accounted for more than half of the 430,000 net job losses in Canada during the recession, although they make up 16.5% of the workforce.
  • Debt: The average post-secondary graduate is now carrying $28,000 in student loan debt.
  • Global Trends in Unemployment:  World Bank surveys suggest that 262 million young people in emerging markets are economically inactive.
  • Overqualified: One in four millennials with a university degree is employed full-time in a job that doesn’t require that level of education.

Amanda would love nothing more but to land the job of her dreams, but clearly there are some obstacles in her way.The markets, the education system and companies themselves have all played a role in getting us to where we are today. And what about the graduates; should a lack of employment also be interpreted as entitlement and laziness on the part of some millennials?

Faced with these challenges, there are several actions that youth can take to prepare themselves for a difficult job market, such as developing self-awareness, building career development skills and getting help from professionals and contacts in their network. Once Amanda learns about the necessary steps to succeed in the 21st century job market, she will likely completely shift her job search strategy. The rules of the game have changed, and, to land the right job after college, students need to learn about a new approach to career preparation so that they can overcome the challenges they face.

To adapt to these new rules, parents and students are increasingly teaming up to tackle career challenges. Given this partnership and the questions I get from both parties, I am cohosting a teleseminar with my colleague Wayne Pagani titled: Future Careers for Today’s Youth: a Dialogue with Parents. During the November 27th teleseminar, we will be presenting solutions and resources to support a more meaningful process to making the critical decisions about moving forward into careers of the future. You can find out more and sign up for the seminar here.

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