Career consultant sees changes to the summer job market

Mohawk’s parking lots are empty; hallways are vacant; coffee shops are closed.

In my office, where we work with job seekers and employers looking to hire, we’ve been hearing, “Where have all the students gone? Why are no students applying to our job vacancies?”

It seems that students seeking summer jobs are finding their own summer jobs.

Having grown up in a time where jobs were few and each one was fiercely competitive, it’s hard for me to relate. My choices were narrow and I was happy to take what was offered.

Today, it’s an entirely different labour market dynamic. It’s a quandary for employers who have been in business for a number of years. Similar to my own experience, once upon a time, these employers had people lining up for their summer jobs. They had the option to pick and choose who to hire. Now, they struggle to fill the jobs. The heavy labour jobs like landscaping, construction, and production seem to be suffering the most, including the ones that require a driver’s license. Although I don’t know for sure, my best guess is that youth aren’t receptive to working long days, rotating shifts and physical labour jobs for minimum wage. Additionally, many don’t drive or have easy transportation to get to varying locations.

The intergenerational labour market landscape has evolved along with the youth population. I am seeing youth who have experienced immense pressures from early childhood for them to multi-task and excel at school, be competitive in sports, be socially conscious, environmentally correct, volunteer and so much more.

Is it any wonder youth aren’t looking for work in the summer? If they do decide to or need to work, now they have the options to secure jobs that appeal directly to their future career goals or are enjoyable and rewarding, while also contributing to their wallets. Definitely a change from my summer employment days.

Are you an employer having a hard time filling positions or do you know of a student looking for summer work? I’d love to hear what your experiences have been.

Kym McCreary-Stewart– Kym McCreary-Stewart
Career Consultant Certificate ’09/Writing for Publication ’08
Follow @CESMohawk


In my work at the Community Employment Services centre at Mohawk’s Fennell campus I work with students and employers trying to help both find a good fit. 

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