Friday, April 26, 2013

Canadian Jobs | Our Problem with Understanding Supply and Demand

I've recently seen a lot of activity on social media regarding an article posted by the website, The article outlines The best 200 Jobs of 2013. Interestingly enough Newspaper Reporter was pegged as the worst job in 2013. This came as little surprise to me, as wages and the number of jobs related to Print Journalism has been going down for years. Having interned for a local paper several years ago, I know first-hand how rough the Print industry is.

There's an assumption made that Print Journalism jobs are being replicated elsewhere, mainly into New Media and Social Media. This is false. If you were to add up all the employees at Facebook, Twitter, and Groupon you're looking at a meager 20,000 employees - yet these companies are valued at over 80 Billion Dollars (Generation Jobless).

I've had the experience of running a company Facebook, and Twitter account for a print magazine during a short stint as an Editorial Coordinator. It was never a specific role or job title, as most companies do not have the resources to make that role a permanent position, even if they do why pay someone to do it if you don't have to? Some big companies do hire a team of Social Media personnel, however most times it is a split role between various other duties.

Most companies are tacking this role onto current employees laundry list of duties - meaning more work is being created, but not necessarily more jobs. Media in general has been transforming for years, as we are seeing individuals create employment opportunities for themselves by creating their own online content. This content is shared openly, and for free. However, the problem with creating your own work through blogging, or video blogging is that only a handful of people actually make enough money at it to be self-sufficient.

Career Cast is not Reward Cast, as it focuses on viability of employment, stress, and work environment. It isn't about the rewarding nature of working in the Media or Journalism. Career Cast is used by many interested in looking into a career or possibly changing their current one, As an intricate, and main reason people go to school besides getting educated is to find employment. Journalism is a highly admirable profession, but using the criterion of employability, stress, and work environment it is easy to see why being a Newspaper Reporter falls to the bottom of the list.

Here's the problem, in Canada we don't track the number of student's who come out of College or University, and more specifically with what kind of  Diploma or Degree. A documentary featured on CBC called Generation Jobless, outlines our problem with not tracking data related to graduates; "There is no national strategy  that requires Universities to gather that kind of information, and then share it with each other" which makes post-secondary institutions "unresponsive to the labour market" (Generation Jobless). This is important because specific industries are over-saturated, and potentially some such as the trades are under-saturated. It's about supply and demand.

We don't have a clue about what the demand is because the government doesn't provide students with labour market information to tell students what jobs are in demand.

The Canadian government relies on industry lead Sector Councils, which incorporates business, labour and educators. The councils are supported (poorly), on a case by case basis to provide and share information on labour markets. When "people don't have that information they just make guesses" and these choices can have detrimental affects on that individual and their future (Generation Jobless).  It's hard to direct your future according to employment when you're going off of anecdotal information. When you're conducting research on a case by case basis, you have no idea what the overall picture of the labour market looks like. Having this information could help post-secondary institution's to increase and decrease the number of programs offered, while helping students better direct their career goals.

It's a sad state of affairs when students must rely on websites like Career Cast and anecdotal information (that may be incorrect) to help guide them through making tough career choices.

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