Long before Covid-19, millennials were languishing in the Canadian job market. The most educated 1https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/millennials-in-canada and most indebted generation 2Trends in student debt of postsecondary graduates in Canada: Results from the National Graduates Survey, 2018 in Canadian history began working at a time of notoriously aggressive corporate downsizing and recession3Making it Millennial Public policy and the next generation. A glut of well-paid and thoroughly experienced baby boomers left millennials locked out of sectors across the country by staying later than they were expected to4Baby Boomers Retiring to Cause Imminent Economic Hardship for Canada. So much so that before the pandemic, almost half of Canadian millennials (at the time, aged between 23 and 38) reported being underemployed 5the real facts behind 5 myths about millennial workers .

When Covid-19 separated a disproportionately young 15% of Canadian workers from their jobs, it’s not hard to see why many of those workers saw the silver lining almost as quickly as they saw the cloud.

Around half of millennial workers in the US had a side-hustle business before the pandemic, and cited personal fulfillment and sustainable income as the greatest motivators6 Covid-19 Has Turned More Millennials Into Serial Entrepreneurs. The financial upheaval of the pandemic prompted even more millennials to seek out non-traditional, diverse, and sustainable revenue streams like gig work and entrepreneurship. According to UBI Works, 10% of CERB recipients in 2021 started a business. They also reported that 42% took an online class, and 50% learned a new skill or hobby7 Some lucky people retired early during the pandemic. How did they structure their finances? – The Globe and Mail, perhaps in an effort to chart a new course based on new priorities, laid bare by the pandemic 8UBI Works: Basic Income Talking Points Factsheet. UBI Works. (n.d.).Notion. Retrieved February 22, 2022, from https://www.notion.so/UBI-Works-Basic-Income-Talking-Points-Factsheet-5cb4a6a8dbea48aa92a74705d5fee02c.

Folks also moved up, as baby boomers moved out. Labor experts have been warning Canadians for decades that the mass exodus of the baby boomer generation will leave serious holes in the workforce. Before the pandemic, 5000 baby boomers were retiring in Canada every week 9From a Baby Boom to a Retirement Explosion . Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 was the push many of these workers needed to leave paid work and allow younger people to step up to the plate.

So where did the people go? Well, they went to lots of places, but that’s not really what people are asking when they ask that question, is it? What they’re really asking is, why can’t I hire like I used to?

At least part of the answer is above; shifting priorities and diminishing ties to traditional working arrangements. The rest of the answer, the part about how you move forward despite all this, is coming in our next installment.


By: Madeline Bury