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May 31, 2021

No one wants recent university grads

Hey, graduates. How does this title strike you: “No one needs you, Class of 2010”?

Not very encouraging, right? Not really what you want to hear after the culmination of four years learning at the highest level.

Yet, such is the headline of a recent Joe Queenan editorial in the Wall Street Journal, a scathing, pull-no-punches piece that concludes, ‘Man, there really are no jobs for twentysomethings out there – at all.’

Yes, Queenan’s WSJ column is a must-read, if bleak. It essentially details how today’s wave of grads – while saddled with unprecedented tuition debt and an economic climate not seen since pre-Casablanca days – have it so much worse than any generation before.

But that’s all in the U.S. Could it be any brighter here, in Canada?

You can do your own anecdotal polling inside your community, but by almost every nation-wide statistical and empirical measuring stick, meaningful employment opportunities for recent Canadian grads are just as paltry as they are south of the border.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it in (the) past 20 years,” Nancy Schaeffer, president of Youth Employment Service, recently told CTV.

Indeed, consider that while rehabbing businesses are hiring again (Canada added 108,700 jobs last month), they don’t want much to do with recent grads and their Geography or Art Therapy degrees.

Most companies – and entire industries, for that matter – make it a point to hire back the thousands of laid-off employees they had to can when the economy began to tank. Any business, you’d think, is going to opt for hiring experience over inexperience 99 times out of 100.

And then, if retread workers snatching up any fresh employment opportunities wasn’t enough for graduates, there is the influx of immigrant workers who want nothing more than to crush the soul of your high-priced education.

The Star reports that thousands of Irish workers, for example, are fleeing their troubled nation (unemployment rate: 14 per cent) to Canada, armed with work permits and eager to take the jobs meant for you.

All this is no good for recent grads, who would just go back to teacher’s college or law school if tens of thousands of students – many smarter than you – weren’t doing the same thing, making it impossible to get accepted.

Where do you turn, then? Statistics Canada reports that more than 70,000 youths are without full-time jobs and that many of those positions may have disappeared forever.

So maybe, in all likelihood, that Tim Hortons gig that helped you pay for school will have to be your career for a little while longer.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...