There’s never been a better time for teenagers to land a job. So why aren’t there so many applications?

Cost of life7:52Hey kid, get a job! There are many…

It didn’t take long for 14-year-old Addison Taylor to find a part-time job.

“I started thinking about getting a job probably two or three months ago,” said the Grade 9 student from Newmarket, Ont.

She had been babysitting for about a year, but wanted steady hours and pay.

After carefully crafting her resume, Addison applied to three places, securing both a solid lead for a job at a tea shop that could start in the summer and an offer to start immediately as a host at an Italian restaurant. local.

She chose the restaurant so she could start earlier. Because she gets a share of the tips, it also pays better.

“I didn’t have a lot of money and wanted to be able to hang out with my friends and do stuff like that.”

A sign advertising vacancies is seen at Cineplex Cinemas Varsity and VIP in Toronto on April 16. Cineplex employs thousands of teens part-time and offers perks like free movies. (Brandie Weikle/CBC)

Teenagers who want a summer job this year will likely find it easier than ever to land one. While youth employment was hit hard at the start of the pandemic, it has now fully rebounded, like most of the rest of the employment landscape.

Unemployment rate just hit an all-time high of 5.3 percent and Canada had over 915,000 job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the latest available data, close to the record reached in September 2021 when vacancies exceeded one million.

These jobs span all sorts of sectors, including some where teens are most likely to work — restaurants and retail, according to Statistics Canada labor market analyst Lahouaria Yssaad.

“The largest number of vacancies is in accommodation and food services,” Yssaad said, followed by health care and social assistance, which does not employ many teenagers. “The third is retail.”

A Canadian business survey released last week – conducted by Angus Reid on behalf of Threads of Life, a non-profit workplace safety organization – found that 75% of respondents already have young workers on staff or plan to hire them in 2022.

“You could almost say anyone who wants to work can work,” said Tim Lang, President and CEO of Youth Employment Services Ontario, told CBC. He says it’s a good thing because when kids move up the employment ladder, it helps both their families and the economy.

But because teenagers are less likely to pursue a job than in the past, many of these opportunities will be left on the table.

Demanding extracurricular schedules and academic pressures may partly explain why teenagers are less likely to work today. (LightField Studio/Shutterstock)

Participation rate down

The labor force participation rate—the percentage of those who are working or actively seeking work—among adolescents aged 15 to 19 has declined over the past few decades.

Statistics Canada has been collecting this kind of data since 1976.

It indicates that teenage labor force participation peaked in 1989 at just over 59 percent. In 2008, it was also very strong at 56.5%. But for years it hovered around 50%, plunging when COVID first hit. The latest figure based on the first months of 2022 puts it at 50.7%, says Yssaad.

This means that if teens were as likely to be working today as they were in 2008, there would be more than 100,000 more workers, according to analysis of data from Restaurants Canada, a non-profit association representing the restaurant industry. food services, which has struggled with staffing shortages particularly acute by the pandemic.

The restaurant industry is the industry with the most job vacancies and it is one of the sectors that hires the most teenagers. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Too busy for work?

Howie Dayton, director of community recreation for the City of Toronto’s parks, forestry and recreation division, agrees there has been a “noticeable change” in the availability of part-time teenage workers.

“We’re competing with so many extracurricular activities and academic pressures that young people face today,” said Dayton, who has worked in community recreation for nearly 30 years.

“Therefore, we need more people to fill the kinds of shifts that we could have filled with fewer people years ago, because young people don’t have as much availability to work as many hours. we might need it.”

This certainly applies to Addison’s life.

“I play volleyball and basketball, and since it was my first engagement, I have to consider them as priorities,” she said. “I have school. I have private lessons once a week…and of course I also like to hang out with my friends sometimes.”

Yet, once hired, Addison was able to negotiate a schedule with the restaurant to work only on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, when there are no practices or tournaments.

One paycheck, plus perks

Employers who hire a lot of teenagers say they are in competition to recruit young workers.

Cineplex offers perks like free movies and games, says Allison Dell, the theater chain’s human resources manager.

It employs approximately 9,000 part-time employees in Canada and the United States, approximately 80% of whom are between the ages of 15 and 25, to perform a range of jobs from collecting popcorn to concessioning to operating games in their Palladium games and entertainment room. premises.

“Cineplex has long been a wonderful first employer,” she said, adding that the salary is competitive and the company places great importance on a good company culture.

The Toronto Parks and Recreation Department holds workshops for future employees on topics such as resume writing and job readiness. If the costs of required certifications in areas such as first aid are a barrier, funds are available to cover them, Dayton said. It also hosts in-person and virtual job fairs, he said.

The Centreville amusement park, which takes place every summer on Toronto Island, even throws a semi-formal party so that its 400 young seasonal employees can celebrate with their work friends.

Christine Blue got her first job in Centerville when she was 16, and today she is the human resources manager.

She recommends candidates prepare a CV, even if they don’t have much to put on it.

“If this is your first job, we’re not going to expect you to have all these different places you’ve worked. You just need the basics,” she said. “If you’ve done some babysitting, put it there. If you haven’t, just put your activities you do, your extracurricular stuff you’re involved in; volunteer [work] it’s great to put your name, your address, all that.”

At the time of the interview, Blue says the key is for teens to do their best to overcome their shyness and enthusiasm for projects.

We want the candidate to be confident in answering the questions. You want to show that you’re a problem solver… that you’re capable and able to speak to the public.”

When asked what advice she would give to other teens looking to get a job, Addison says just get out.

“I think you just need to reach out and take a risk and take that leap because you can put off whatever you want, like sitting at home, writing your CV, thinking about where you want to go,” she said.

“But eventually you’ll have to go out and eventually you’ll have to apply for some jobs. And it’s really not as bad as it seems.”

Christine Blue is the human resources manager at Toronto’s Centreville Amusement Park, which hires about 400 seasonal workers each year, many of whom are teenagers. She started working there when she was 16 years old. (Submitted by Christine Blue)