Remember the fear around the Y2K bug that didn’t actually happen? It’s happening now.
Like people who grew up in the 1990s and the twenty-first century I am used to job searching being an excruciatingly painful and numbing process. In some ways I wish it were like the olden times where you could just drop off a resume, or speak to someone directly, rather than apply online. The Y2K bug that everyone feared would crash the computers has instead crashed the psyches of my generation. We are growing increasingly desperate, hopeless, and worried that we will never find a stable job or financial security.
This fear should not be underestimated. In a recent poll of 1000 Canadian youth born after 1980 the biggest challenge they said they faced was by far jobs and opportunity. Those, like yours truly, born between 1980 and 2005, are alarmingly pessimistic, disillusioned, and worried, not only about finding a job, but also about finding a stable job to ensure financial security. The repercussion of this disillusionment is felt within the psyches of many Canadian adolescents and young adults. Over 90% of individuals in Canada aged 18-24 said they suffered from excessive stress because of economic instability and underemployment.
People born after 1980 want jobs, want opportunities, but are struggling with the thought that they will consistently face a lack of job security, underemployment, and increased pressures and demands. Over forty percent of people born after 1980 cited job availability as their first or second most daunting challenge, compared with affordable housing at 20% and retirement security, which was way down the totem pole at 8%. This information was compiled by a recent survey done of Canadian youth and young adults.
Youth are graduating in high numbers from universities and colleges but the jobs simply just aren’t there to match the needs and skills. Youth employment is 250 000 jobs below the pre-recession high, and of those that are employed 39% say that are underemployed and are not being used to their full potential, says The Globe and Mail.
I am not speaking for all young adults because many have graduated, have found careers, and are in the process of buying homes and raising families, but many, if not most, are not. I am struggling myself to find a career that suits my skills so that I can buy a house and raise a family. And I am not an outlier.
There is a crisis of disillusionment amongst Canadian youth and young adults.
This Y2K Bug 2.0 is crashing the hopes and dreams of many young people in Canada. It is infecting young people with frustration, anxiety, stress, and disillusionment that job stability is just a mirage. We need government leaders, business people and others to help solve this growing and potentially huge societal problem.
For now I am going to be cautiously optimistic, but only for now.