Since the beginning of the pandemic, youth have been greatly affected in their employment. Pivot data outlines the hardships of youth in 27 cities across Canada, highlighting how youth workers transitioned to pandemic-oriented working situations. During this time, youth struggle to adapt to their new job environment, some of which are happening online.
In these unprecedented times, technology has become more prevalent. For people that once worked a regular 9 to 5 job with physical contact, it can be very bizarre. Those that are not tech-savvy are having difficulty transitioning over to remote work. There is a disparity in accessing work, youth’s lifestyle, working hours, and type of employment.
Youth workers may also not have the support or tools needed for working online. The top 5 cities in the Pivot Survey where youth valued digital access the highest comparatively were Regina, Oshawa, Sudbury, Toronto CMA and Charlottetown. As shown above, youth of each city who value digital access show a strong connection to digital applications. However, there is a disconnection as youth do not access employment services in these cities.
Although the cities in the Pivot Index lists youth employment centres, there exist limitations to accessing them. For example, Oshawa has only 3 in their city and Sudbury’s are not exclusive to youths. And with Brampton in Toronto CMA, they are only accessible online or closed. Although youth like myself have access to digital tools, there are some that are not fortunate enough to own devices to effectively access their work life.
Learning how to use a PC or laptop to access their work details is a newer skill to youth. Joining work meetings on platforms as well, it all depends on accessibility. One Toronto youth states, “… more education for the general public with digital access and or accessing things digitally…” highlighting the need for instruction in the remote working transitions.
Changes in Lifestyle
Youth may also lack the choice for non-remote work and its stresses. A Pivot interviewee in Aurora said, “I think what worries me the most is the fact that a lot of people are gonna be, like, working remotely… I think that’s just, like, they’re — people are just working more often, and I worry that’s just gonna, like, continue after the pandemic. People aren’t gonna hire again and, like, people are gonna have to stay home and do their work all the time.” Since the lockdown, youth are concerned with overworking remotely.
Impact on Employment
According to Stats Canada CPSS1 report, about 5 million workers have transitioned to working at home in March 2020. Post-secondary students that had jobs before Covid, at the beginning of March 2020, are having a sudden shift in employment. Reportedly, 48% of students were temporarily or permanently laid off. Those that also had job prospects, 49% of them had lost that opportunity.
The Pivot Survey showed the percentage of unemployment had drastically increased since Covid. Complimenting Stats Canada, youths age 15 to 24 that worked declined from 58% in February 2020 to just over 49% in August 2020. In addition, Stats Canada has also stated that, “… recent employment gains among youth have all been part-time work.” Making up the majority of youth that worked in August 2020, with high unemployment or reduced work hours, the future with Covid for youth workers was looking bleak.
A New Hope
For the 5 cities, the Pivot Index that contains the number of new jobs created since 2019 have shown a huge increase in jobs. Fortunately, there have been 23,470 jobs in Toronto, new jobs are on the rise. With these prospects comes new work environments, creating a change in how we work. Regardless of the type of employment, remote work has some merits.
LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index reported from September 2020, concerns on remote work are dissipating. 61% reported they never had any concerns with achieving less or with career progression. The problem that still persists though is wellness of youth. 36% compared to 47% that never had this concern, struggle to balance work and play. But, as time passes, I believe remote work for youth will definitely be easier.
If you want to hear more about my opinion on digital access and good youth jobs, feel free to check out the podcast and conversation with my fellow Pivot Data Analyst, Livingston Pan. We discussed our thoughts about the three attributes involving digital access, good jobs, and entertainment.
Simon Fraser University
PIVOT 2020 Hub:
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