In-person is a preference for most young workers

"Employers are key to shaping the future of work and powering the economy. Mobilizing talent is critical and requires flexible and dynamic ways of working that embrace equity and inclusion,” explained Mark Beckles, vice-president of social impact and innovation at RBC. “Our investment in this study reflects our commitment to empowering young Canadians and ensuring that their aspirations are realized as the world of work continues to change.”

The report highlighted the needs of younger workers to become fully-engaged in paid work throughout their working lives. For instance:

  • The preference for adolescents (those between the ages of 15 and 19) to work fully in-person
  • Compared to a preference of youth (those between the ages of 20 and 24), who favour hybrid models that includes an in-person component as well as a remote-work option

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Compared to their age cohort:

  • Young women in lower income groups earned significantly less than their male counterparts, suggesting that younger generations continue to experience gender pay differences as they begin their careers
  • Young immigrants are less likely to be thriving at work than those born in Canada

One bright spot was the sense of inclusion younger workers felt about their participation in the workforce. According to the study, young participants are optimistic about collaborating with decision-makers in the workplace; however, the reality shows they have few opportunities to do so.

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Ideas for improvement and retainment

While pointing out obstacles to full employment participation by younger Canadians, the authors of the report did suggest several ideas that could improve the experiences of young workers and help retain their talents. These included:

  • Embracing those that want to work in-person by providing meaningful experiences during that in-office time
  • Supporting in-person relationship-building
  • Promoting equal pay initiatives for young women, financial literacy and supporting women’s access to higher-paying jobs
  • Supporting specific initiatives to support young immigrants in their professional growth
  • Creating more opportunities for intergenerational collaboration

What young Canadians can do

While there may be a preference for in-person work experience, young Canadians can increase their opportunities by levelling-up their skills. For instance, LinkedIn Learning offers online courses in business, technology and creative applications such as essential HTML, all taught by industry-led experts.

Another option is to gain experience through more flexible work options, such as fixed-term contracts or freelancer work. While job sites like Indeed and LinkedIn Jobs offers access to a variety of jobs, FlexJobs focuses on temporary-type jobs that offer flexibilty and options. Open a FlexJobs account and pay just US$2.95 for a 14-day trial.

About the RBC Young People and Economic Inclusion Longitudinal Study

To obtain this data, the RBC study recorded data over a six-year period, beginning in 2022. To date, there are more than 20,000 young people who have opted-in. The data set allows for comparisons with the Canadian population through the Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey.

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Nicholas completed his master's in journalism and communications at Western University. Since then, he's worked as a reporter at the Financial Post, Healthing.ca, Sustainable Biz Canada and more. Aside from reporting, he also has experience in web production, social media management, photography and video production. His work can also be found in the Toronto Star, Yahoo Finance Canada, Electric Autonomy Canada and Exclaim among others.

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