Unifor is calling on the federal government to take strong action to help young people facing and increasingly difficult job market that offers them little more than part-time and precarious work.
“More young workers today find themselves in low-wage jobs than they had a generation ago,” Unifor researcher Angelo DiCaro said in a presentation April 2 to the federal Standing Committee on Finance.
Making matters worse, he said, young people are also facing higher housing and tuition costs than previous generations, and taking on larger debt levels to pay for their education. The average student debt in Canada now stands at $37,000.
But taking on that debt to get an education is no guarantee of a job, with half of young people employed in either the retail/wholesale sector or hospitality – both of which are characterized by low-paying part-time and precarious work.
“A generation ago, 21per cent of young workers held a part-time job. Today, that number has jumped to 48 per cent,” DiCaro told the committee.
More than 150,000 young people have more than one job, and 43 per cent live with their parents, compared with just 27 per cent in 1981.
Unifor recommended that the federal government:
- Establish a national, multi-stakeholder retail and hospitality sector work standards and training council to set benchmark standards for work hours, overtime, scheduling practices as well as provide on-the-job skills training
- Ensure a portion of jobs created through public infrastructure projects go to young workers
- Strengthen federal wage subsidy programs to encourage permanent/long-term employment
To read the complete submission, go to: http://www.unifor.org/sites/default/files/submission_youth_employment_study_to_standing_committee_on_finance.pdf