Canadian students struggle to find work after graduation

TORONTO (CUP) — Even with a bachelor’s degree in hand, David McClelland can’t seem to find work. And he’s not alone in his search for post-graduation employment.

In fact, according to a recent study, the class of 2010 might be in for the worst employment climate young people have seen since the Second World War.

The Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit think-tank based in Washington, D.C., released a report on May 11 that found unemployment rates for both high school and university graduates are the highest they’ve been since 1983.

The number of youth workers between 16 and 24 in the U.S. who are unemployed has more than doubled since the start of the recession.
The same is proving true north of the border.

McClelland just graduated from the University of Ottawa and has been actively looking for a job since February, applying to anywhere and everywhere, with no luck so far.

“I’ve had a couple of interviews for retail jobs, but neither panned out. For the most part I feel like I’ve been sending my resume off into the void, never to be heard from again,” he said.

McClelland has tried everything from replying to ads, dropping off resumes blind and registering with temp agencies.

“Honestly, it gets pretty frustrating at times. I mean, I know there are jobs out there, and people who are hiring, but it can sometimes seem pretty baffling as to how one actually acquires those jobs.”

“Sometimes I’ll start working on a cover letter, and just have difficulty finishing it because it seems so disheartening and pointless a lot of the time,” he explained.

The University of Toronto surveyed 1,752 recent graduates from February to April and found that only 37 per cent were employed full-time. The rest either remained unemployed, were employed part-time or temporarily, or were back in school.

Only 25 per cent are earning more than $50,000 and only 40 per cent are actually working in a field related to their degree.

Thirty per cent have yet to receive an interview for any application submitted.

High rates of youth unemployment is not unique to 2010 either — it’s been an upward trend in Canada since the recession hit. According to Statistics Canada, the summer of 2009 saw student unemployment reach an all-time high during the month of July. It was estimated that 20.9 per cent of students were without work — the highest rate since data collection began in 1977.

Published in Volume 64, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 30, 2010)

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