Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Rumeet Billan

GET UPDATES FROM Rumeet Billan
 

Youth Unemployment: The Chicken and the Egg Problem

Posted: 02/24/2014 11:30 am

It's no secret that the job market for youth graduating from post-secondary education is competitive and challenging, with youth unemployment rates being twice the national average in Canada. A combination of both education and experience can be the ticket to an initial interview, however, youth are often faced with the 'no experience, no work; no work, no experience' dilemma. One that has left graduates with accumulated debt and limited options.

Some choose to take the first job that they can get, regardless of the industry or whether it provides meaningful work that is aligned with their credentials. Sam Bachra, a recent graduate from York University who majored in Kinesiology, reported "it was extremely difficult to find a job, I would literally take anything from working in an office to working at a factory. I ended up going to an agency "labour ready" where I was placed a few times a week at different companies that needed someone for labour intensive work." Others may decide to go back to school, removing them from the job market altogether, and adding to their existing debt with the hopes of gaining meaningful employment upon graduation.

But where does that leave gaining relevant experience?

In 2009, Lauren Friese, founder of TalentEgg, Canada's leading job board and online career resource for students and graduates, wrote a confession titled, "I run a career website and my new grad sister is still unemployed." In this post, Friese discussed her frustrations with youth unemployment and referenced "helping students find meaningful work," as the stated goal of her organization. The implicit contradiction between graduates seeking employment and the required experience expected by recruiters has provoked TalentEgg to change the game. With their passion and purpose at the forefront, TalentEgg recently launched an initiative to help bridge the gap so that youth can gain the experience they need to make a successful transition into the workplace.

How? By giving youth a challenge.

TalentEgg Challenges presents a new platform that allows students to take part in work-like online challenges in partnerships with employers. "Entering a job market where meaningful positions are scarce, it's important that students and grads have a true sense of what they are good at and where they can excel," said Friese. Challenges provides youth with the opportunity to build not only their competencies but also applicable experience before entering the workforce. For employers, the platform allows them to reach graduates in a relevant way and presents an innovative approach to recruiting.

Kayla-Rae Russiani, who is expected to graduate in April with a diploma in Media Studies from Humber College explained, "I entered post-secondary with a fear that my hard work and dedication over the course of my studies would not be recognized after graduation. This initiative will give students who will be graduating an opportunity to use their skills to win challenges that are set and evaluated by employers. It's exciting."

In this competitive job market, opportunities that help build work experience are crucial for youth who are looking to gain meaningful employment. The new platform promises to give students and recent graduates the opportunity to apply theory learned in the classroom to a variety of fields, which will help them get a job. It presents an opportunity for both employers and potential candidates to interact in an applicable and relevant way. The question is, will they be up for the challenge?

Russiani says, "Absolutely!"

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Hamilton -- 13.2%

  • Greater Sudbury -- 13.4%

  • Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo -- 13.8%

  • Ottawa-Gatineau (Ontario) -- 14.6%

  • Guelph -- 14.8%

  • Thunder Bay (in 2009) -- 15.3%

  • Barrie -- 16.6%

  • St. Catharines-Niagara -- 17.8

  • Toronto -- 18.1%

  • Peterborough -- 18.4%

  • Kingston -- 18.9%

  • London -- 20.3%

  • Brantford -- 20.5%

  • Oshawa -- 21.8%

  • Windsor -- 24.7%

  • NEXT:

    Median Income For Women In Canada

  • Median Income For Women In Canada

    The following data comes from <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130911/dq130911a-eng.htm?HPA" target="_blank">Statistics Canada's 2011 National Household Survey.</a>

  • St. Catharines -- $23,316

    Median income for men: $35,028 Average income for women: $29,775 Average income for men: $43,195

  • Charlottetown -- $24,248

    Median income for men: $30,961 Average income for women: $31,542 Average income for men: $40,965

  • Toronto -- $24,359

    Median income for men: $31,233 Average income for women: $37,015 Average income for men: $52,716

  • Montreal -- $24,361

    Median income for men: $32,887 Average income for women: $32,090 Average income for men: $44,800

  • Vancouver -- $24,551

    Median income for men: $31,704 Average income for women: $35,618 Average income for men: $50,897

  • Hamilton -- $24,761

    Median income for men: $35,666 Average income for women: $32,561 Average income for men: $45,725

  • Fredericton -- $24,990

    Median income for men: $34,527 Average income for women: $32,306 Average income for men: $44,772

  • St. John's -- $25,593

    Median income for men: $35,042 Average income for women: $33,940 Average income for men: $48,258

  • Thunder Bay -- $25,741

    Median income for men: $37,821 Average income for women: $32,830 Average income for men: $45,148

  • Winnipeg -- $25,923

    Median income for men: $35,776 Average income for women: $32,400 Average income for men: $44,342

  • Halifax -- $26,736

    Median income for men: $39,154 Average income for women: $33,398 Average income for men: $48,096

  • Quebec City -- $27,053

    Median income for men: $36,117 Average income for women: $32,334 Average income for men: $43,858

  • Victoria -- $27,324

    Median income for men: $34,235 Average income for women: $33,792 Average income for men: $42,084

  • Saskatoon -- $28,069

    Median income for men: $40,913 Average income for women: $35,426 Average income for men: $52,018

  • Edmonton -- $28,460

    Median income for men: $43,929 Average income for women: $37,100 Average income for men: $56,034

  • Calgary -- $30,516

    Median income for men: $45,781 Average income for women: $41,438 Average income for men: $68,928

  • Regina -- $31,349

    Median income for men: $42,006 Average income for women: $38,488 Average income for men: $53,324

  • Ottawa -- $33,728

    Median income for men: $46,513 Average income for women: $41,857 Average income for men: $58,318

  • Whitehorse -- $40,702

    Median income for men: $46,265 Average income for women: $45,636 Average income for men: $53,264

  • Yellowknife -- $51,951

    Median income for men: $66,153 Average income for women: $56,064 Average income for men: $73,225

  • Iqaluit -- $57,897

    Median income for men: $62,187 Average income for women: $63,456 Average income for men: $69,539

  • NEXT:

    Highest-Paying Jobs That Don't Necessarily Need A Degree In Canada

  • 14: Pilot

    Average salary $44,224.00

  • 13: Farmer

    Average salary: $46,213.00

  • 12: Secretary

    Yes, apparently they still have secretaries. Average salary: $46,369.00

  • 11: Truck Driver

    Average salary: $47,562.00

  • 10: Financial advisor

    Average salary: $52,635.00 *Having some sort of certification in finance or business would likely help in this career, but isn't necessary.

  • 9: Bricklayer

    Average salary: $53,017.00

  • 8: Recruiter

    Average salary: $54,048.00 *Though a degree isn't required, you may be at a disadvantage when searching for work as a recruiter against those with degrees in human resources.

  • 7: Mechanic

    Average salary: $54,279.00

  • 6: Train driver

    Average salary: $56,640.00

  • 5: Human resources manager

    Average salary: $58,033.00 *As with recruiters, you my be at a disadvantage in this field against those with a human resources degree.

  • 4: Electrician

    Average salary: $62,526.00

  • 3: Electrical engineer

    Average salary: $81,349.00 *Adzuna explains: For some electrical engineering jobs, a degree is required, and for others it isn't — there are alternative professional qualifications.

 

Follow Rumeet Billan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RumeetBillan

FOLLOW CANADA BUSINESS