Youth employment, or more specifically, youth unemployment is an important issue for Canadians. In 2012, the youth (ages 15-24) unemployment rate was 14.3%. On average, according to Statistics Canada, youth unemployment nationally tends to be double the unemployment rate of adults (in 2012, adult unemployment was at 6%). In 2014, immigrant youth had even higher rates of unemployment (17.2%) compared to Canadian-born youth, with those more recently landed having higher rates than those who have been here for an extended period of time (19.5% for immigrant youth here five years or less versus 15.8% for immigrant youth landed 10 years ago or more).
Youth unemployment is also linked to education levels. The lower one’s level of education the longer one tends to be unemployed and the higher the rate of unemployment is amongst that group (Marshall, 2012). There is a push in the market towards credentialism and a job that may have required a high school diploma 20 years ago now requires a university degree. In 2014, only 23.8% of youth with less than a Grade 9 education were employed compared to 63.7% of high school graduates and 71.8% of youth with a bachelor’s degree.
Youth tend to experience more frequent periods of unemployment (for example, lower seniority means they are laid off first) but on the more positive side, youth tend to be unemployed for shorter periods of time than adults. Additionally, more than a quarter of the unemployed youth in 2012 were youth who had never worked before and therefore lacked experience necessary to obtain a job.