Canadian Millennials Are Doing Just Great, Says RBC Report That Missed A Few Things

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Millennials are doing fantastically, if you ask Royal Bank of Canada.

More millennial women are participating in the workforce compared to previous generations, and hold a majority of degrees in science and technology, according to a report by RBC economist Laura Cooper.

That's great news — but the report glossed over some important issues, like the cost of housing and the precarious nature of employment.

royal bank of canada

Millennials in Canada have "inherited a labour environment [that is], in many ways, better than that of their parents," the report reads.

Women are certainly making gains in traditionally male-dominated fields, such as financial management, investment analysis, and civil engineering.

Millennial women are also closing the wage gap. They still only earned 87 cents for every dollar men made in 2015, but that discrepancy is smaller than it was almost two decades ago. Back then, the number was closer to 78 cents, according to Statistics Canada.

millennials at work
Women work on laptops in a cafe. (Photo: Reza Estakhrian/Getty Images)

The RBC report also says that the number of self-employed 15 to 24-year-olds has doubled over the past 20 years — and not just in Canada.

"The rise of the gig economy is likely influencing these labour market trends," Cooper wrote.

"A rise in contract employment, which accounted for a record 12.8 per cent of all youth employment in 2015, is another example."

On contract

But growing contract employment doesn't necessarily suggest that millennials are being more entrepreneurial — it shows that contracts are often all that's offered.

And there's plenty to suggest millennials aren't happy with that trend.

Contracts often see people working at companies for defined periods, whether be a monthly basis or yearly basis.

A PwC study said many workers that plan on signing contracts would prefer a steadier option.

Contract has been labelled "precarious" by the Canadian Labour Congress.

job security

StatsCan data shows that temporary workers have come to occupy a larger proportion of all workers in the 15-to-24 age group, jumping from 23.6 per cent in 1997 to 28.9 per cent last month.

They've also grown among the 25-to-54-year-old cohort, from 9.3 per cent 30 years ago to 10.5 per cent last year.

temporary workers

But RBC's report also leaves out other info suggesting the economy is tougher on millennials than it was on their parents.

Almost 60 per cent of 20-to-24-year-olds were living with their parents in 2011, while only around 40 per cent did in 1981.

It's a similar story for 25-to-29-year-olds: about a quarter of them were living with mom and dad in 2011, compared to 10 per cent three decades earlier.

Factors such as unemployment and expensive housing are keeping them at home.

canada young adults home

In other words, the economy has been kinder to millennial women, but it's still squeezing the generation as a whole.

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