TORONTO - 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.

"When I look around at all the amazing people I know and I look at what's available to them, to do anything meaningful or innovative that allows them to even come close to paying the bills, it's like wizardry," Glencross said in a telephone interview.

"You have to be incredibly comfortable with ambiguity. You have to be incredibly resourceful, and you have to learn a bunch of skills that school didn't provide you with most of the time."

Glencross' dilemma is a common phenomenon for youth navigating a system designed by and for the generation that came before them, experts said.

Young people often bear the brunt of economic upheaval, according to Statistics Canada, whose recent data shows that Canadians between 15 and 24 have long been struggling under more adverse conditions than their older counterparts.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW SLIDESHOW

Loading Slideshow...
  • Think you know your generation?

    The Huffington Post Canada and Abacus Data surveyed 1,004 Canadian millennials from across the country on a variety of issues. Here's what we found:

  • Biggest challenges?

    We asked 1,004 Canadian millennials to rank the biggest challenges facing their generation.

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    2% rank the decriminalization of marijuana as No. 1 or 2.

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    5% of millennials rank internet regulation and online privacy as one of their top two issues.

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    7% rank bullying as the first or second biggest challenge.

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    8% of millennials rank retirement security No. 1 or 2.

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    11% of millennials say access to quality health care is one of the generation's top two challenges

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    20% of millennials rank pollution and environmental protection as No. 1 or 2 of the biggest challenges faced by this generation.

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    20% say affordable housing is in the top two.

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    24% of millennials peg the cost of education as their first or second choice for the generation's biggest challenge.

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    27% say the cost of food, gas and consumer goods are in the top two.

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    32% of millennials chose "student debt and personal debt" as the first or second biggest challenge.

  • What defines a good citizen?

    We asked 1,004 millennials between the ages of 18-30 what it takes to be a good Canadian citizen.

  • What defines a good citizen?

    15% of millennials say it takes being active in political parties...

  • What defines a good citizen?

    28% of millennials say donating money to charity makes a good citizen..

  • What defines a good citizen?

    35% of millennials say that being active in social organizations is important to citizenship..

  • What defines a good citizen?

    63% of millennials say being informed about current events is important..

  • What defines a good citizen?

    64% of millennials say being able to fluently speak one official language is important..

  • What defines a good citizen?

    74% of millennials say a good citizen is someone who always votes in elections.

  • What defines a good citizen?

    81% of millennials say good citizens honestly pay their taxes.

  • What's the biggest challenge facing your generation?

    43% of millennials rank the availability of quality jobs as their first or second choice.

  • Health Challenges

    We asked 1,004 Canadian millennials what were their generation's biggest health challenges

  • Biggest health challenge facing your generation?

    3% say pollution

  • Biggest health challenge facing your generation?

    4% say sexually transmitted infections

  • Biggest health challenge facing your generation?

    7% say disease

  • Biggest health challenge facing your generation?

    11% say poor nutrition

  • Biggest health challenge facing your generation?

    16% say obesity

  • Biggest health challenge facing your generation?

    17% say addiction

  • Biggest health challenge facing your generation?

    19% say mental health

  • Biggest health challenge facing your generation?

    26% say lack of physical activity

  • Relationship status

    Some views from 1,004 Canadian millennials on marriage and family..

  • Relationship status

    18% of millennials are in a common law relationship

  • Relationship status

    66% of millennials are single

  • Relationship status

    15% of millennials are married

  • Do you ever want to get married?

    63% of unmarried millennials say <strong>yes</strong> 13% say <strong>no</strong> 24% say they are <strong>unsure</strong>

  • Do you ever want to get married?

    65% of <strong>unmarried women</strong> say <strong>yes</strong> 13% say <strong>no</strong> 22% say they are <strong>unsure</strong>

  • Do you ever want to get married?

    61% of <strong>unmarried men</strong> say <strong>yes</strong> 13% say <strong>no</strong> 26% say they are <strong>unsure</strong>

  • Is marriage an outdated institution?

    33% agree 67% disagree

  • Do you have children?

    12% of millennials surveyed have children 88% do not

  • Do you want to have children at some point?

    64% of millennials say yes 12% say no 24% are unsure

  • More On Millennials

    Huffington Post Canada's series on millennials, Asking Y. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/generation-y" target=blank>Visit it here</a>.

The most recent example came in Statistics Canada's November unemployment data. The youth jobless rate stood at 14 per cent, down from the 14.7 per cent posted the month before but still nearly double the national average of 7.2 per cent.

The lack of available jobs only tells part of the story, according to a report from Community Foundations of Canada released earlier this year.

The survey of youth across the country highlighted a litany of issues that make for a perfect storm of discontent.

Young job-seekers must compete with baby boomers forced to delay retirement, and the report suggests they rarely get the upper hand in such contests.

Obtaining the post-secondary education widely believed to enhance career opportunities is an increasingly costly proposition that leaves most students grappling with an average debt load of $28,000 before they've received their first full-time paychecque, the report said.

And finding a position that could help alleviate that financial burden is made more difficult by the dearth of summer jobs and other roles that could help build a young person's resume.

The result is a demographic grappling with unparalleled stress levels and foundering in a system that only exacerbates their challenges, said Ian Bird, president and CEO of the Community Foundations of Canada.

"Much of our public policy-making takes on board a set of assumptions that the boomer generation has experienced," he said.

"That's still the case. I don't think we've caught up where young people are at, and we better do so soon, otherwise there'll be a cohort that we just miss."

Youth taking part in the report repeatedly expressed a desire for new systems to take the place of the old ones, Bird said, adding they don't share the same priorities as their parents did.

Financial security often ranks below other motivators such as social impact, work-life balance and an emphasis on sustaining sound mental health.

Bird said employers would be well-advised to reconsider their hiring approaches if they hope to attract and retain workers of the new generation.

"It used to be, 'how do you find the most talented?' Give them a job. Here's a desk, here's work to do, compensate them well and off they go," Bird said.

"Now it's more, 'what's the environment we create? What are the social health supports they're going to need? What other burdens are they carrying?'"

That's not to say that it's all bad news for Canada's youth. The Certified General Accountants Association of Canada recently issued a report arguing youth unemployment rates during the most recent recession were well below historic highs of 19.2 per cent during the economic downturn of the early 1980's.

The Community Foundations of Canada report argues that the adverse conditions that dog today's young workers have helped create a generation of particularly adaptable, civically-engaged people who are eager to bring about change.

Glencross hopes his generation will take concrete action on that desire. While acknowledging today's youth have high standards for how their future ought to look, he contends they must be the ones to help make it happen.

He issued a challenge to his peers to become more proactive in carving out a path they'd be content to follow.

"Most youth, if it's a play on social change, they're not casting themselves in the lead role," he said. "Why? Why does no one believe they can do it?"

Earlier on HuffPost: