“Doc Zone,” the CBC’s investigatory documentary program aired an exposÃ© of Canada’s youth unemployment problem recently.
It identified many serious employment problems that university graduates are facing. In spite of the difficulties that youth and employers face, there are still opportunities that both groups should be taking advantage of. Those who capitalize upon these opportunities and take advantage of the available solutions could find themselves reaping great rewards.
What are the problems that we’re facing?
Canada has a national youth unemployment rate of 15%. Over 60% of graduates also leave school with an average debt of over $27,000. “Canada is [also] the only country in the world without a national body responsible for education.” Furthermore, there is no national database of information to help students determine what labour needs will exist by the time that they graduate. This disjointed approach to education vs. labour requirements produces thousands of surplus graduates each year in areas where new workers are not needed.
For example, Canada produces over 11,000 teachers each year for a job market where barely 4500 jobs open up annually; leaving 6000 graduates unable to find work in their chosen profession. As a result, new teachers either return to school for upgrading (thereby increasing their debt) or end up underemployed or marginally employed in roles as substitute teachers – sometimes for a decade or more.
Traditionally, internships allowed young workers to gain valuable work experience and an offer of employment by the time they were done. Due to increased competition, an estimated 1 million graduates become interns each year but work without pay and are often not hired at the conclusion of their internships. Combined with the recent global recession, high competition and under-employment have created a perfect storm making it impossible for new graduates to pay down debt, buy real estate or start families.
So what’s the good news for employers?
Employers that are entrepreneurial and who plan strategically are in an excellent position to take advantage of a well educated pool of employees. They are:
• desperate to work,
• will work for lower salaries and,
• are eager to prove themselves if given an opportunity to do so.
Internships offer employers the opportunity to capitalize on all of these things. Research shows that employers who hire and train inexperienced workers receive several benefits from doing so.
1. New graduates can be hired for lower wages than more experienced workers demand.
2. New graduates can be trained to meet an employer’s unique requirements.
3. Interns who are hired in this way demonstrate an extraordinarily high rate of loyalty and retention.
4. This, in turn, reduces the costs associated with turnover and attrition.
Unfortunately, few new graduates have the direct experience or real-world skills that employers require. However, there are hundreds of assessment tools that can help Hiring Managers determine accurately which candidates will be:
• the most successful,
• easily trainable,
• fast learners,
• the best fit with the organization,
• and the most productive employees.
Using reliable pre-screening tools to identify the best candidates and their training needs can be a huge benefit to both the employer and the job seeker. Hiring only the best and the brightest by using personality and skills-based assessments helps to ensure mutually beneficial recruitment while increasing the likelihood of success for the candidate, as well as, increased tenure and lower expenses for the employer.
Right now, Canadian employers are in a unique position to save money and get exactly what they want in an employee. Hiring new graduates that can be groomed for the positions that are needed and identifying those most likely to be successful through the use of assessment tools can give employers an edge on the competition.
The entire Doc Zone program may be viewed here: Doc Zone – Generation Jobless