Young workers and students are being left behind in the Canadian economy, according to Unifor National President Jerry Diaz and Canadian Federation of Students National chairperson Jessica McCormick.
Statistics Canada released numbers showing employment among young workers and students fell by 20,000 jobs. The youth unemployment rate for young workers (15-24) remained stubbornly high, suggesting that any economic recovery in Canada has bypassed young people.
“Nearly half a million students have returned to school this fall after not being able to find summer employment and are facing an unstable future after graduation,” said McCormick. “A good job has never been harder to find.”
Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, worries that a perfect storm of student debt is brewing.
“This is a really scary trend and it has a domino effect,” says Schwartz. “If students can’t save in the summer, it’ll mean higher student debt loads, and then things get even worse if new graduates can’t find solid jobs.”
Unifor points out that one in every three young postsecondary students will transition into low-skilled jobs upon graduation, and they will carry an average of $28,000 in student debt. This creates a tough situation for new graduates hoping to pay down their debts, and the need to stretch their money is stronger than ever before. Consolidated Credit has some advice on how new graduates can defy the odds and pay down their debt:
- Live lean – Fresh out of college or university, many young Canadians are free from many of the financial responsibilities of their middle-aged counterparts. New grads often don’t have to worry about mortgages and children – and they should keep it that way. Extend a frugal-student mentality beyond the graduation date and avoid taking on new bills for the time being.
- Work hard – If new grads have yet to establish a family of their own, they might want to take advantage of that. It’s the perfect time of their lives to take on extra hours or even temporarily move to a job-rich region while they focus on eliminating debt and building savings.
- Ends and means – Goals are the key to success in all aspects of life, especially in personal finance. Studies show the majority of students are optimistic they’ll pay off their debt within five years. That’s a great goal, but the only way to achieve it is through smart budgeting. Consolidated Credit has a free iPhone app and plenty of reading material to help sort out spending.
- Get experienced – One of the biggest obstacles keeping new grads from a good job is a lack of workplace experience. Although the idea of unpaid internships or low-paying entry level jobs might sound financially discouraging to indebted students, the long term pay-off is invaluable. Beefing up your resumÃ© will pay huge dividends down the road.
“Buckling down and budgeting is easier said that done,” says Schwartz. “But new grads really need to take care of their student debt as quickly as possible so that they can get on with the rest of their lives because there will be plenty more bills where that came from.”
If you want to learn more about making responsible financial decisions, check out Consolidated Credit’s free Personal Finance educational section. If you’re struggling with debt, call one of our trained counsellors today at for a free debt analysis.