Searching for jobs difficult for young people

By Amber Zirnhelt
Columneetza Senior Secondary
Williams Lake, British Columbia

Jobs are very important to everyone's future. As a youth, if you don't have a job you probably can't afford to go on to post-secondary education. And without a post-secondary education, you'll end up serving fries at McDonalds all of your life - if you're lucky.

According to Statistics Canada in British Columbia, the youth unemployment rate (for people aged 15-29) is 18.3%. This means that B.C. has the fourth highest youth unemployment rate in Canada, being beaten only by Newfoundland, the North West Territories and New Brunswick.

In B.C., the minimum wage is $7.15/hr, but when you look at the average cost of living, the minimum wage just doesn't cut it. Statistics Canada has found that the average rent in B.C. is $704/month, while the average cost of owning a house is $239,745. The average British Columbian spends $121.73/wk on food, $39.55/wk on restaurant expenses and $2.02/wk on coffee and tea. Looking at this figures you must note that they exclude costs of transportation, education, house hold expenditures such as toiletries, electricity, and phone bills, and fun activities such as snowboarding/skiing, going to the movies or traveling.

 So where are the jobs available? Although British Columbia's main industry is forestry, tourism comes close behind. In fact, in 1997, one in eight workers (over 235,300 people) in B.C. worked in the tourism industry. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, by the year 2006, tourism will create a new job worldwide every 2.4 seconds. This means that tourism will account for 11.1% of all the jobs in the world.

The food and beverage industry also employs many workers. In 1996, over 8,600 food and beverage establishments were operating in B.C. alone. Of these 8,600 establishments, nearly half of them employed between 10 and 50 people.

Although it may sound like there are a lot of job opportunities available, there are also a lot of people. Many people are finding it hard to find work. Students are going to university, getting degrees and then not being able to find a job. The competition for jobs is also a lot stiffer. Employer's standards are a lot higher because there are so many workers available for different positions.

One solution to the lack of jobs is that people are now beginning to realize that they can create their own future by being their own boss, and starting their own business. There are also more companies and organizations available to help people find work.


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