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Gen Z suffers the greatest blow in COVID-19 Job Market

Updated: May 16, 2020

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the Canadian job market. The generation that has suffered the greatest blow is Gen Z. According to Statistics Canada in April 2020, employment for those aged 15-24 dropped by 480,100 representing 22% of Gen Z in the country.

In a survey conducted by Think Gen Z of our network members revealed that 82% of their employment has been affected as a result of the pandemic. Over 50% of those surveyed said that they have applied for the CESB.

Recessionary times have been notoriously difficult on the youngest section of the labour markets. With the closure of most non-essential businesses and the need for physical distancing the retail and services sectors which employ a large number of young people, has suffered the most drastic toll. The pandemic will have a lasting impact on the future incomes of Gen Z cited in a report by the economists at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

“We’re taking the time to point this out because past recession cycles have shown that young people often bear long lasting scars on their livelihood,” TD economists Beata Caranci and James Marple.

It is predicted that when Gen Z’eders enter the workforce they could be faced with the reality of lower earnings over their lifetime than their other cohorts. Often those graduating during recessionary times are challenged because they are forced to take jobs that require lower skills than their education. It is said that young people earn on average 10% less than those who did so during economically buoyant times. The impact of this loss of earning power results in delays in entering the housing market and even beginning a family.

According to Pew Research, millennials who graduated during the financial meltdown, the Class of 2020’s experience will be no different. Despite the ensuing hardships, a university degree proved to be a saving grace for young people. By 2018, millennials with a degree had largely caught up, salary-wise, to where Gen X'ers were at their age.

To close on a note of optimism, despite dire short-term predictions for the labor market, we should all remain hopeful that economic improvement will be experienced during the second half of 2020 and into 2021. Although we have yet to see the full impact of the overall economic slowdown, analysts currently expect that Canadians will slowly return to work once the virus is under control.

Looking for the latest stats or to gain a pulse on Gen Z? We offer the ability to poll our Canada-wide network, contact us today.

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