Monday, March 03, 2014

Underemployment NOT Unemployment

As our world becomes more and more fast paced with the exponential evolution of technology, society begins to face new challenges to adapt in order to overcome. One challenge in specific that young ambitious professionals face is the challenge of not only finding work within their field but work that engages and stimulates the professional. According to the Latest Indicators of Statistics Canada in the current economic market Canada’s unemployment rate is 7%, which means 2,47O,7O4 willing to work Canadians, will be out of work. What is even more daunting is that Statistics Canada in January 2O14 that the youth unemployment rate is a double the national average at 14%! This is a daunting reality for students in Canada, in 2OO5 Statistics Canada found that the average student debt in Canada was 18,8OO$, today in Ontario specifically the average student debt is 28,OOO$. Student debt should be expected and can be a healthy motivator to pushing yourself to the professional position but, not if student hit a wall of unpaid internships or multiple part time jobs.  In January the Provincial Government raised minimum wage in Ontario from 1O.25$ to 11$. This is great news but as a single young male about to graduate from college in Toronto my yearly expenses with school in Toronto cost from around 2O,816$ to 26,88O$ per year. This means graduating from college I will need to not only obtain a 14$-16$ an hour job to support my own needs I will have to produce more income to pay off my student debts. Not only are Canadians facing the challenges of unemployment they are also facing the challenges of underemployment. Under employment occurs when individuals with skill sets are forced to work at low paying jobs not fully utilizing the individual’s talents and skill sets. Underemployment is related to the low amount of jobs available to students within their industry after they graduate, most tend to be internships, unpaid. This is a current issue within our economic market and needs to be examined and dealt with.
            Natasha Adam [alias] graduated from Algonquin College’s Fashion management program in 2O12 and has been working in the industry ever since. Adam worked in retail for two years and eventually worked to become the store manager. With a salary of 31,135$ a year she works 38 hours a week and gets two weeks paid vacation as well as medical and dental health insurance. This is great news for the average student with debt showing you what you can do if you set your mind to it. Although Natasha mentions many other challenges within her workplace, “Getting paid less as a woman, sexual harassment, and being under employed are the challenges I face on a day-to-day basis. It is hard to find salary work out in this economy so I’m happy I have it, but I feel I have skills that are beyond the skills demanded on a day-to-day basis.” She is one of the ambitious young professionals in today’s economy that set her mind to achieving a goal and achieved it. Natasha is one of the lucky ones; most students find some financial relief from the service industry as a server, bartender, or busser. This does show that if you keep at it and work for it you do have a shot, take it. 
            In tough economic times like these its important to encourage consumers to spend and make the right decisions with their money but we must also encourage the ambitious young individual to go out on their own, take a leap of faith. Paul Denys was exactly that, after graduating college in the 197O he leaped into the trades with a bike as an apprentice. After apprenticing Paul felt motivated and confident enough to start his own company Denys Builds Designs, a design and renovation company in Ottawa. He has seen success and trust within his community offering high-end design options with outstanding attention to detail. Paul remembers the struggle to fill his schedule with work and maintain steady work load. Paul states he’s happy he went out on his on because it allows him to challenge himself and do something he loves everyday.

            Whether this issue is one of the 21st century or human society as people we should be aware of this and focus on fulfilling employees desire to be more engaged in the workplace. It would be beneficial to both employer and employee creating a positive work environment for more and more Canadians, not just the young ones. Employment issues may not be easy to fix but it doesn’t mean they should be ignored. A generation is calling out for help and they deserve and answer, or at least a three-dollar rise in the minimum wage from the Federal Government.

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