By Chris Sorensen and Charlie Gillis - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 0 Comments
Why a generation of well-educated, ambitious, smart young Canadians has no future
Melanie Cullins is no pipe dreamer. She chose a vocation that, by unanimous opinion, represented a path to steady employment—teaching English as a second language to the thousands of immigrants pouring into B.C., a good many of whom, the experts predicted, would be making their way to Victoria, where she grew up and wished to make a home. That was back in the early 2000s, when opportunities for the young and industrious appeared unlimited. A rewarding career seemed within reach for all.
Cullins’s degree in applied linguistics was the gold standard of ESL qualifications. But she graduated in the thick of the 2008 financial meltdown, and the entry-level position she imagined would launch her career never materialized. Governments cut back on language transition programs. Resumés piled up in recruitment offices. Her calls to program directors went unanswered. “For me, that was a huge blow,” she says. “I had almost perfect performance reviews from my practicums, but I couldn’t even get an interview. You start to wonder: what’s wrong with me?” Continue…
By Alex Ballingall - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
The archetypal “have not” province is bringing in foreign workers to help fill jobs
There may be no more surefire sign of an economic boom in Canada than a shortage of staff at the local Tim Hortons. It happened in northern Alberta when Fort McMurray exploded with oil sands-related activity. And now it’s happening in Deer Lake, in western Newfoundland. “We’re in the midst of a period of poor availability,” says local Tim Hortons’ owner Oral Clarke. He plans to bring in foreign workers from the Philippines to ﬁll out his staff.
For a town of 5,000 that sits at a highway interchange near the entrance to Gros Morne National Park—never mind in a province with the highest unemployment rate in the country at 13.1 per cent—this may seem like a strange conundrum. But it’s indicative of a growing problem on the Rock. After decades of being Canada’s archetypal “have not” province, Newfoundland and Labrador is experiencing an unprecedented economic boom. And the record expansion brings an unfamiliar problem: an acute shortage of labour. “For years we’ve had people leaving the province because of too few jobs,” says Richard Alexander, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council. “All of a sudden there’s been a switch and we’re entering an area where we have excess jobs and too few people to ﬁll those jobs.”
More than $43 billion is pouring into major development projects across the province. Among the most prominent are the $8.3-billion Hebron offshore oil platform, the $3-billion Long Harbour nickel processing plant, and the $6.2-billion Muskrat Falls Lower Churchill hydroelectric project. The government surplus—once a rare ﬁgure on provincial balance sheets—climbed far beyond expectations to $755 million last year, thanks mostly to oil revenues, says Memorial University economist Wade Locke. In a report titled “ Outlook 2020,” the province estimated that 77,000 job vacancies will open up over the next eight years (with more projects announced since the report, that estimate is widely perceived to be conservative).
By Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze - Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 10:00 AM - 4 Comments
Removing a statue of Marx in Berlin; Germany lacks 400,000 skilled workers
Despite having an economy that is one of the strongest in Europe, Germany is facing a major economic dilemma. For decades, experts have warned that the country’s declining birth rate, accompanied by an exodus of highly trained workers to other parts of the world, would create a labour shortage. That forecast is now becoming a reality. According to the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the country lacks 400,000 skilled workers—and the region with the greatest shortage is eastern Germany. Since 1990, the eastern states have seen 1.5 million workers move westward, either to other parts of the country or abroad. If the trend continues, the population between the ages of 15 and 64 in the east could be cut in half by 2050.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has rejected proposals to help skilled foreigners get their credentials more easily recognized. But the pressure to make changes will only intensify—economists estimate the shortage is costing the economy upwards of 20 billion euros a year.
By Rachel Mendleson - Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 8:15 AM - 28 Comments
The public sector is all the rage these days. How can the private sector compete?
Jacob Gamache never thought he’d end up in the public sector. “There is a stereotype that the government of Canada is very slow,” he says. Seeking a faster-paced, more competitive environment, Gamache used his master’s degree in sports administration to land a job in 2005 with a private, non-proﬁt organization in Ottawa. Though ofﬁcially the manager of communications and events, Gamache, now 28, says he was somewhat of a “jack of all trades,” creating pamphlets, updating the website, and offering tech support to his co-workers. “I got an opportunity to learn a lot,” he says of the job, which required plenty of overtime. “You come in in the morning at 7:30 or eight, and you’re not too sure when you’ll go home at night. When you do, the laptop comes with you. And the cellphone.”
By the fall of 2007, Gamache was ready for “something a bit more stable.” On a friend’s suggestion, he applied to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), a federal funding agency—and one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers this year. He took a job with the agency in May 2008 and hasn’t looked back. On top of solid beneﬁts, an enviable pension and a higher salary, he says there’s plenty of opportunity to advance. (Despite his misgivings about the limits of bureaucracy, he’s already been promoted to project ofﬁcer in a little more than a year.) What’s more: while the recent economic downturn has seen hundreds of thousands of Canadians lose their jobs, he’s had “no worries” about holding on to his. When asked whether he would consider returning to the private sector, Gamache says, “It would be a very tough sell.” Continue…