Canadian Youth: unequal employment conditions

Three Statistics Canada analysts looked at the evolution of employment conditions for youth over the last three years. Results of the comparison: despite longer schooling, they are finding it harder to enter the labour market. However, the 15-34 age group are unequal in terms of employment.


Canadians aged 15 to 34 are first distinguished by a higher level of education compared to previous generations. According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), 93% of women and 89% of men aged 20 to 24 had a high school diploma in 2012. This compared to 84% and 79% respectively in 1990. 68% of young people aged 25 to 29 had a post-secondary diploma in 2011, compared to 43% in 1981, according to figures from the National Household Survey. In 2012, 58% of those aged 15 to 24 were full time students, compared to 39% in 1981. The longer the duration of studies, the longer students live at home with their parents. In 2011, 59% of those aged 20 to 24 and 25% of those aged 25 to 29 lived in the family home, while the figures were 42% and 11% in 1981. Finally, young Canadians’ career is beginning later, with full time employment rates that reached the highest at 31 years old in 2012, compared to 25 in 1976.


Those under 25 affected

Employment conditions of men and women under 25 years of age declined between 1981 and 2012. The unemployment rate rose from 13.7% to 15.9% for men and 11.7% to 12.6% for women over this period. Other figures show a deterioration for this age group: full time employment rates fell from 72.1% in 1981 to 57.1% in 2012 for men and from 57.8% to 46.1% for women. Finally, the median hourly wage (in constant dollars) decreased among full time jobs, by 13% for men and 8% for women. All of these trends were nonetheless less pronounced in the oil-producing provinces.


Women aged 25 to 34 holding their own

Women aged 25 to 34 saw their employment conditions improve between 1981 and 2012. With an employment rate that fell from 8.3% in 1981 to 6.2% in 2012, they held more full time jobs, 47.7% in 1981 and 61.7% in 2012. Finally, their median full time wage increased by 13% over 30 years.


Men aged 25 to 34 years better off in the oil-producing provinces

However, men aged 25 to 34 years experienced poorer employment conditions with an unemployment rate which rose from 6.2% in 1981 to 7.5% in 2012. Those living in oil-producing provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador) posted lower full time employment rates in 2012 than in 1981 but had wages 6% higher.

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