Could Canadian Millennials And GenZ Survive A Recession?

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

The future of work for Canadian Millennials (and Gen Z) is precarious these days.

Now a new analysis by RBC Economics has measured the “recession roadblock”: the obstacles new grads face when entering the workforce during a recession.

And according to David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates, Canada is a lot closer to a recession than people might think.

Yet mapping out a career path has never been more challenging as more graduates face the prospects of slower wage growth and delayed career progression in times when many career options are, as Bloomberg.com journalist Noah Smith described “anemic [with] no signs of recovering.”

READ: How First-Time Home Ownership Differs For Millennials And Boomers

These include jobs such as “lawyers, journalists, teachers and government workers.”

Slow-wage growth and delayed career progression compared with cohorts who graduate in better economic tmes. With more than 1 million students enrolled in Canadian universities and the cost of living ever-increasing, it’s imperative that grads receive the opportunities to pursue a career that pays an adequate wage.

And yet, with RBC predicting that Canada has close to a 30 per cent chance of falling into a recession over the next 12 months, economists are looking to what happened to university grads who entered the workforce in 2009-2011, the years just after the 2008 economic crash.

READ: For Millennials, Canada Is One Of The Best Countries To Work In

Lessons from that recession show that new grads were among those most dramatically affected: by age 30-34, for example, many of them were less likely to be in a management positions than people in that cohort were before the recession. They were also less likely to occupy a skilled position than the same pre-recession cohort.

Sometimes university-educated grads would be so desperate to work in an already-fraught market, they took on jobs that didn’t match their education level— especially compared with those entering the workforce in the first part of the 2000s. And many had little choice but to take on part-time or temporary work opportunities  – with precarious work becoming more pervasive than ever before.

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On top of all of this, Millennials are often locked out of the real estate market and, given the mounting obstacles to home ownership, many feel “tortured” by it, according to a recent  study by Nobul, a digital website that matches buyers with agents.

The report concluded that  Millennials are woefully unprepared about the steps to take in buying a house – even after they’ve saved long enough for that dreaded down payment. First-time home buyers account for 68 per cent of surveyed millennials who plan to buy a home in the next two years.

In a world where automation and AI have taken over many standard means of employment, some radical thinkers propose that the only way for Millennials to survive the future is to go to art school. Maybe the best way to secure a career is to stay on top of which industries are hiring.

Or maybe just follow your passion? Sadly even this is being disputed as the right path to career fulfilment!

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