Canada's young people are entering adulthood at a time of "seismic shifts" in the social landscape, an era in which the usual transitions from school to a career, family and home ownership have been drastically altered, a new report says.
The report from the Community Foundations of Canada released Tuesday draws on research from numerous organizations to provide a snapshot of youth experience in Canada.
“The linear path from school to career, home ownership, and family has disappeared,” says Ian Bird, chief executive of Community Foundations of Canada. “We want communities to recognize that this is ‘the new normal.’"
Some of the key challenges for youth identified in the report include:
- Heavy debt loads and poor employment prospects: Graduating students carry debt loads that average between $20,000 and $30,000 and take an average of 14 years to pay off, while one out of three students enter low-skilled jobs after graduating.
- Summer job prospects dim: Student jobs this summer were at the lowest level since data was first recorded in 1977, and the youth unemployment rate in June of 14.8 per cent was more than double the national average.
- Post-secondary education delayed: In some provinces the number of students delaying post-secondary education has increased by up to 200 per cent, as youth try to improve their grades or save for tuition.
- Competition for work: Baby boomers who are delaying retirement or returning to work after retirement reduce employment prospects for youth.
- New Canadians: About one in five Canadians aged 18-34 are foreign-born and one in six are members of a visible minority.
The report notes that young Canadians are among the best educated in the world, knowledgeable about technology, connected to social networks and animated by global issues, but that there’s a gap between those who thrive and others left behind.
Stress from the changing landscape puts Canadian youth at risk. The report says 3.2 million of 12- to 19-year-olds are at risk for developing depression, citing a study of Ontario students that found “the rate of students reporting psychological distress has risen to 43 per cent, up from 36 per cent in the 1999 survey.”
In many ways Canada’s young have an “extraordinary skill set” to deal with change, the report says, but it is “colliding with unprecedented economic, demographic and social conditions.”
Earlier on HuffPost:
Highly Educated Generation
Today's generation is dubbed to be one of the most educated generations in Canadian history, according to the report. Today, 15-year-old Canadians continue to be the best in the world in reading, math and science, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Almost one in five Canadians aged 18 to 34 is born outside of the country and one in six is a member of a visible minority, according to the report.
Wired And Collaborative
Today's young generation is comfortable with changing technology, global networks and can easily collaborate online through wikis or crowd sourcing, according to the report.
Driven By Values And Relationships
More than eight in 10 teens say trust and honesty is important to them, according to the report. It also found that the relationship between young people and their parents are generally more positive than the past.
Expressing Passion And Politics
Young people are getting more involved. Today's younger generation has been seen taking part in political movements like Occupy, student-run marches and in Quebec, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/quebec-student-protests/">massive student protests for tuition fees. </a>
The report found that 75 per cent of 12 to 19-year-olds had the highest level of attachment to their communities, according to the Canadian Index of Well Being.
Youth Unemployment In Canada
The red line on this graph from StatsCan plots the unemployment rate for Canadians between 15 and 24 years old. Youth unemployment in Canada this summer is around <a href="http://www.financialpost.com/personal-finance/young-money/joblessness+normal+grads/4929608/story.html" target="_hplink">double the national rate</a>, at 14 per cent.
Youth Unemployment By Region
Barrie has <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/jobs/canadian-youth-unemployment-rates/article2064041/" target="_hplink">one of the highest rates</a> of youth unemployment in the country at 25.4 per cent. Regina is one of the lowest at 9.5 per cent. This chart shows unemployment rates by region from 1996 to 2003.
UK Youth Unemployment Hits Record
By November 2010, youth unemployment rates in the UK had reached 20.3 per cent. It's the highest level of youth unemployment in the UK since they started keeping records in 1992.
EU Youth Unemployment Rates
Youth unemployment in the European Union was just above 20 per cent by the second quarter of 2011. Unemployment in the EU for people between the ages of 15 and 24 peaked at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010.
U.S. Youth Joblessness Near All-Time Peaks
In July 2010, the rate of youth unemployment in the U.S. reached 19.1 per cent, which was the highest July on record. In contrast, the youth unemployment rate in 2006 was 11.2 per cent, in 2002 it was 12.4 per cent, in 1998 it was 10.8 per cent and in 1994 it was 12.6 per cent.
International Youth Unemployment Rates
Comparatively with other countries, Canada<a href="http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2011/06/13/is-canadas-youth-unemployment-really-so-bad/" target="_hplink"> isn't doing the worst</a> when it comes to the youth unemployment rate. 24 per cent of Sweden's youth are unemployed and Italy is at 29 per cent. In Spain, it's a staggering 44 per cent. Germany is only at 8.1 per cent, but students in that country attend university full-time and don't pay tuition.
7. Huge Regional Disparities
Wood Mountain (includes oil rich Fort McMurray, pictured here) saw its employment level shoot up by 95% over the 2000 to 2011 period, while forestry based Miramichi suffered the biggest decline of 63% in job numbers.<br> <br> Two out of 33 Census Metropolitan Areas (Windsor and Thunder Bay) had fewer jobs in 2011 than in 2000 while 13 of 45 smaller cities were in this situation. In 2011, only 5.5% of the labour force in Wood Mountain were unemployed while 16.4% were unemployed in Miramichi.<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>
6. Jobs Up, Wages Down
The unemployment rate jumped from a near record low of 6.1% in October 2008 to a high of 8.7% high in August 2009 and has declined slowly since then to 7.2% in March 2012. In spite of the recovery, unemployment duration increased again in 2011.<br> <br> There was a another slight decrease in the number of discouraged job searchers in 2011, who just quit looking because they believed that nothing suitable was available, but their numbers were still 50% above pre-recession levels. Actual hours worked at all jobs advanced to 36.4 hours in 2011 up 24 minutes from the all-time low of 36 hours in 2009.<br> <br> Real (after removing inflation) average weekly wages fell by 0.5% in 2011 following an increase of only 0.2% in 2010. This helps explain why the number of workers who have more than one job climbed for a third straight year to a record 5.4% in 2011. Women (6.4%) are now more likely to have a second job than are men (4.5%) while both were the same (4.6%) in 1989.<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>
5. Bad News For Working Parents
In 2011, the employment rate for lone-parent mothers (55%), lone-parent fathers (79%) and mothers with an employed husband present (70%) all with children under the age of six continued to be below their prerecession peaks. The only exception in 2011 was for women with a non-employed husband for whom the employment rate (53%) was above the pre-recession rate.<br> <br> The "monetary" value of childcare remains undervalued. In 2011, childcare and home support workers working full-time (30 hours or more per week) earned an average of $598 per week. This was the third lowest behind full-time chefs and cooks ($545) and retail sales persons ($589). On a more detailed level, babysitters, nannies and parent helpers were the lowest paid occupation from among over 700 occupations in the 2006 Census.<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>
4. Manufacturing Still Struggling
After eight years of decline, the manufacturing sector created only 15,900 jobs in 2011. Employment in 2011 was about where it was in 1993 and down by 532,200 jobs since the peak in 2004.<br> <br> Based on employment growth over the 2000 to 2011 period, the most rapidly expanding industries in Canada were mining and oil and gas extraction (+70.3%) and construction (+56.4%). Other leading growth industries (all service related) included professional, scientific, technical services (+39.9%), health care and social assistance (+37.9%) and real estate and leasing (+30.1%). <br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>
3. Labour Shortages
For 2011 as a whole, eight (35%) out of the 23 major occupations were in a shortage situation, compared to six occupations in the previous year but still much less than the 10 occupations before the recession began. When examined from an industry basis, there were shortages in five (25%) of the 20 sectors in 2011, up from four during the previous year. <br> <br> In 2011, the unemployment rate among professional occupations in health, nurse supervisors and registered nurses stood at only 0.8%. Unemployment was only 1.9% in technical, assisting and related occupations in health and in professional occupations in business and finance. Demographics point to more shortages in the medium-term.<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>
2. Alberta - The Youth Job-Bringer
Based on a ranking of 10 youth related indicators, Alberta was the best place for youth in 2011 followed by Saskatchewan in 2nd spot and Quebec in 3rd spot. Next in line were Manitoba (4th), Prince Edward Island (5th), British Columbia (6th), Ontario (7th), New Brunswick (8th), Newfoundland (9th) and Nova Scotia (10th).<br> <br> At the national level, recession is still the reality for youth. Youth employment plummeted by 195,400 jobs in 2009 and 2010 combined but only 19,300 jobs came back in 2011. In 2011, employment rates for all youth slipped further to 55.4% (lowest since 2000), was flat for returning students working in the summer (53.8%) but down a lot for full-time students who were working during the school year (36.6%). <br> <br> In 2011, the unemployment rate improved slightly for all youth (14.2%) but worsened for returning students working in the summer (17.4%).<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>
1. A Greying Workforce
More and more seniors are working longer. The percentage of those aged 60-64 who are employed rose from 34% in 1989 to 47% in 2011 ... a new record. The percentage of those aged 65-69 who are still working jumped from 11% in 1989 to 23% in 2011 ... another new record. The percentage of the 70 and over group who are still working increased to 6% in 2011 ... one more record high. <br> <br> Over the 1989 to 2011 period, the labour force aged 45-54 more than doubled (+108%), those aged 55-64 also more than doubled (+133%) while those aged 65 and older grew even faster (+180%). <br> <br> The recession delayed retirement for many, as record numbers of persons 60 and older remained in the paid workforce. The median retirement age among men (63.2 years) rose for a third consecutive year in 2011 and was the highest since 2003. The median age of retirement among women increased to 61.4 years in 2011 and is the second highest since 1994.<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>