Eagle Vision Quarterly Newsletter

December 2012

Richard L. Simms
President, Black Eagle Executive Search


Youth Unemployment

In the Black Eagle Executive Search practice, I have many conversations with Canadian youth in the 18-29 age group who have the highest level of unemployment and underemployment of any age group in Canada. Most are quite discouraged about their job prospects. 

The statistics are depressing: 

The Canadian Press, January 29, 2013

The loss of tens of thousands of youth jobs during the recession was not only painful for the young people involved but will impact them and Canada's economy for years to come, says a new paper from TD Bank.

Youth unemployment in Canada peaked at 16.4 per cent in July of 2009 from a pre-slump level of about 11 per cent. More than two years into the recovery, the rate remains elevated at 14 per cent, about twice the national average (7.1% in January 2013).

Globe and Mail, October 27, 2012:

15% - current jobless rate of people between the ages of 15-24, highest level in nearly 2 years

 19.6% - broader measure of youth unemployment that includes discouraged job seekers and involuntary part-timers – the highest level for any September in 15 years

28.6% - proportion of 20-24 year olds in temporary jobs in the first eight months of the year, a steady increase since 1997

$74,100 – Average household debt among Canadians between 18-25 years of age in 2011, a record compared to $44,500 in 2002

42.3% - portion of Canadians in their twenties who are still living at home with their parents.

TD Economics, March 8, 2012: The Plight of Younger Workers


The economic recovery has been almost non-existent for younger Canadians (those aged 15-24 years). They accounted for more than half of all net job losses during the recession and employment still stands some 250,000 below its pre-recession peak. In contrast, jobs held by those over the age of 25 years are more than 400,000 above its level prior to the downturn.

Compared with previous generations of younger workers or those elsewhere in the world, things might not look so grim. However, today’s youth face some significant challenges.

The fact of the matter is that new Canadian graduates will face challenging labour market conditions for several more years – as is always the case for those most vulnerable in the labour market.

Of the more than 430,000 net jobs lost over the course of the recession, more than half were concentrated among those under the age of 25 years. This occurred despite the fact that they only accounted for one-in-six (16.5%) in the labour force.

The very discouraging aspect of these statistics is that we have a young generation of Canadians with startling levels of debt who have much bleaker employment prospects and earning power at their present ages than previous generations.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel as the first wave of baby boomers turned 65 commencing in 2011, and 400,000 per year will reach that age from now until 2031 creating employment openings and opportunities for younger generations. But this trend has been slowed by some baby boomers continuing to work past their normal retirement age of 65.

All of us can relate to personal experiences about young workers having great difficulty finding suitable and meaningful work.

So, in your businesses, for both permanent and part-time employment, stop to carefully consider the advantages of hiring youth in the 18-29 age group. Many are well educated, keen to work and learn, and will be very grateful to find good employment at a reasonable wage in this very difficult job market.


Contact Black Eagle

Telephone: (416) 458-9969
Email: info@blackeagle.ca