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Job market for grads not easy these days, says U of G study

Young people need to revise their expectations when it comes to post-graduation job prospects, says a study by a University of Guelph professor.
The study, “Launching a Career: Inter-Generational Differences in Early Career Stage,” by department of management professor Sean Lyons, investigated the early careers of three generations of workers. It found that millennials (those born after 1980) want advancement and variety and will move on if their needs go unmet.
But their high expectations could lead to dissatisfaction, feelings of failure, depression and anxiety, Lyons said in a news release.
The goal of being better off than one’s parents is less likely to be met today, he said.
“Today, jobs are increasingly scarce, education is a necessity and job security is a thing of the past,” said Lyons.
“People need to know success in the current economy must be framed within present reality. A degree is no longer a ticket to great opportunities; it’s the price of admission into the labour market.”
Lyons suggests students start planning their careers as soon as they start university.
“When students only start thinking about their future in third or fourth year or say they don’t know what they want to do after university, I feel they’ve wasted opportunities to figure out what they’re good at, what they want out of their careers and what options are most likely to get them there,” he said.
Co-op programs and volunteering are good ways for students to earn competency in a range of areas and build a portfolio to show employers, he said.
Those employers can also learn from the study.
“Companies that are flexible and adaptable to diverse values and needs are best positioned to accommodate generational differences as well,” Lyons said.

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