Into the Minds of Millenials

Though Canada poured a whopping 900 000 jobs into the economy after the 2008-2009 recession, lowering the then unemployment rate from 8.7 per cent to 7.2 per cent, many Canadians still lost their jobs. A dependency on the US meant our economy needed a swift recovery from our neighbour south of the border.

And once an individual lands a job, the job itself is not a guaranteed source of income. Many entry-level positions in any given field are susceptible to mass layoffs and budget cuts. For students in the arts and communications, budget cuts like CBC in 2012 left many in the media field reevaluating their chosen career path. Post-secondary graduates are seeking something stable that can at least offer them a chance to pay off student debt. Graduates are already starting at the bottom and working twice as hard to reach the top of the totem pole.

Even for those in more traditionally stable fields, such as engineering or architecture, there are still drawbacks. Many domestic companies seek to outsource jobs for improved efficiency (and higher overall profit), but don’t always guarantee employees a safe return.

Then there are wages. It seems as though the more expensive things seem to be getting, the more they stay the same.

It’s difficult to say whether there is any chosen field that has greater job security anywhere these days.


For post-post graduates, there are those who’ve already achieved some sort of security in their professional life, yet still register high stress levels. The American Psychological Association also listed things like family responsibilities and relationships as significant, though not dominant, factors contributing to stress. In Canada, 12 per cent of workers listed finances as a stress factor, another 12 per cent identified the distribution of free time, and 8 per cent listed family as a stress factor.[pullquote] “Even after getting a job, the effects of unemployment are still seen. They don’t progress as fast and they lose job skills,” says Professor Greenglass. “The longer a person is unemployed the greater it will affect their mental health.”[/pullquote]

It goes without saying that those with high stress levels are put at high risk for health complications and negative consequences. Stress can be linked to social disorders and diseases such as anxiety, depression, and depression. In more severe cases, it can contribute to sleeping disorders, digestive problems, and even heart diseases.

In 2012, 62 per cent of Canadians listed work as their main source of stress. Now, imagine the added stress of not having yet been included in to this demographic. Canada’s current unemployment rate holds a steady 7.1 per cent – a jolting number for recent graduates now being thrust into the “real world”.

It’s also harder to be understood. Older generations who most likely had to work much harder than Generation Y easily look down on Millenials with little empathy. The ability to work seamlessly with apt technological dexterity makes it hard for older generations to understand what the big deal is. After all, how hard could it be to upload resumes online and conduct interviews on Skype, right?

The answer may not be at the back of the book. Millenials are known as the generation with relentless optimism, creativity and just enough life experience to think outside of the box. This doesn’t mean seeking job security in any 9-5 office job with company benefits and enticing eligibility for a pension plan after 25 years of service. Neither does it mean abandoning all efforts in a post-secondary program for a dream business and $10 000 start up. Millenials may just be the generation that is able to glide through financial barriers to create its own niche. Most young adults now possess the skills and strong suits for a plethora of job opportunities (from computer programming to bartending to stock supply and deliveries – you name it), compared to previous generations who remained at a virtual standstill with employment loss and an economy plummet.

The answer arguably lies in both the hands of the economy, as well as in the ambition of Millenials themselves.  Greenglass suggests alternatives for those who find it difficult to find work right out of school.

[pullquote]“It might be necessary to go abroad or relocate. You might have to take courses and supplementary training and research where jobs are in a field.” she advises.[/pullquote]

In a world where job security is fluid and new innovative ideas are constantly being generated, Millenials might just have enough willpower to change their current social and economic climate – not just by sheer number or force – but by strategic thinking and employment tactics.

Lindsey Addawoo is a fourth year Radio and Television Arts student at Ryerson University. She has written for Global News and various other student publications, such as The Ryerson Free Press and Mcclung’s Magazine. Her ultimate goal is to become a multi-faceted news journalist in both print and TV broadcasting.


Photos courtesy of Onboarding Gen Y, The Generation What Blogger , Victor1558 and Financial Post

Statistics Canada – Perceived life stress, quite a lot, by age group and sex

Canadian Federation of Students – Tuition Fees and Funding

The Wall Street Journal – High-Tech Jobs Driving Economic Growth in More Cities

Psychology Today – Managing PCSD – “Post Commencement Stress Disorder”

Huffpost Healthy Living Canada – Millenials Come of Age as America’s Most Stressed Generation

Financial Post – ‘Really there is a recession right now’: Canadians lose faith in economic ‘miracle’ amid prolonged slowdown

Statistics Canada

Helpguide.org – Stress Symptoms, Signs & Causes

Statistics Canada – Chart 2: Work is the main source of stress for 6 to 10 highly stressed workers

Statistics Canada – Labour Force Survey, June 2013

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