By Joanna Sivasankaran
Photo by Angela Tilley
Almost half of employed millennials in Canada are expecting to make a job or career change within the year, according to new survey results.
The survey, sponsored by Royal Roads University (RRU) and conducted by Ipsos, surveyed 1,004 employed Canadians from an Ipsos online panel.
It found that while 45 per cent of Canadians were expecting to make a job change within the next five years, 44 per cent of millennial Canadians were expecting this job change within the year.
This is a result of millennials’ awareness of the current economic environment they are working in, according to Catherine Riggins, the associate vice-president at RRU.
“Gone are the days of getting an education to secure you in one life-long career,” she said. “Canadians clearly understand the reality that they will have many careers throughout the course of their working lives.”
The idea of having to switch careers more than once is unwelcome to some students.
“It’s absolutely terrifying,” Sagaki Armitage-Smith, a second-year criminology student at Carleton University, said. “It’s hard enough to find a temporary part-time job nowadays.”
When it comes to her future career, Armitage-Smith said she’s focusing on the now.
“At this point, I just want to graduate with a degree,” she said.
Yvonne Collins, a career counsellor at Carleton, said the fear of having to change career paths is reflective of the way students are taught to think of having one job as the norm.
For example, asking children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” implies that they will have a unilateral career path, according to Collins.
However, she said having to switch careers should not be taken as a sign of failure.
“Switching jobs is not necessarily a bad thing,” Collins said. “This could be mean a promotion, an opportunity to learn new things, or finding a job [or] work environment or organization that is a better fit for you.”
In addition to these findings, the survey also found millennials were more concerned about losing their jobs in an economic downturn. Forty-three per cent of millennials felt this concern, as opposed to the 35 per cent of employed Canadians overall. The concern was particularly high in Alberta, where 48 per cent of millennial respondents felt threatened by the economy.
RRU used the findings of the survey, particularly a portion that found 87 per cent of respondents recognized the importance of life-long learning, to promote their Don’t Stop campaign.
The Don’t Stop campaign aims to let people know that there is always room for growth.
“RRU wants to shift this mindset, and prepare people for success by teaching them how to become life-learners, wherever they’re at in their lives and whatever their age,” Riggins said.
At Carleton, Career Services aims to make students aware of their individual interests, values, and transferable skills that are necessary for a variety of jobs, while also providing networking opportunities and resume help, according to Collins.
“The Career Services team is always available to assist Carleton students and alumni with planning their next steps or preparing for the changing job market,” she said.