As a not-for-profit employer in downtown Toronto, we cannot find enough experienced and trained career/employment counsellors or job developers. Our mission as an organization is to help thousands of disadvantaged youth to find jobs each year.

The challenge of not enough jobs for youth in our city vs. not enough trained youth for jobs can be seen from these two different perspectives; an employer who needs staff and an organization that helps unemployed youth to get jobs and knows about their challenges. We understand both sides of the problem.

Forty-three per cent of executives in the survey say that the best way to close the gap is for employers to offer more training for new employees. An equal number say the solution is for prospective employees to better prepare themselves for the labour market. Both of these opinions, in my view, are valid.

It is time that businesses do more “on-the-job training” and time for youth to plan and prepare more for the job market. Young people learn quickly, bring creative and fresh ideas to the workplace, yet “on-the-job training” is the most effective way to ensure success and also provide much needed jobs for inexperienced youth.

-Nancy Schaefer, President, Youth Employment Services YES, Toronto


Les jeunes âgés de 15 à 34 ans en 2021 occuperont 56% des emplois à pourvoir alors qu’ils occupent une position démographique minoritaire. Leur proportion par rapport au reste de la population diminuera d’année en année. De plus, même s’ils représentent une solution importante aux enjeux du marché du travail des prochaines années, en 2012, c’étaient 11,4% des jeunes du Québec qui n’avaient toujours pas de diplômes d’études secondaires pour répondre aux exigences des compétences demandées par les employeurs.

Cette réalité jeunesse spécifique doit donc être adressée, dans l’accompagnement et la souplesse d’intervention près des besoins de chaque jeune. Comme société, nous ne pouvons laisser un seul jeune de côté. C’est ce à quoi s’activent au quotidien les 110 carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec dans leur accompagnement offert aux jeunes en fonction de leurs besoins.

-Alexandre Soulières, directeur général, Réseau des carrefours jeunesse-emploi du Québec, Montréal


Our network works with tens of thousands of small- and medium- sized employers (SMEs) placing at-risk youth in jobs. These results reinforce our understanding of the challenges these employers have finding and recruiting youth. There is clearly a need for youth employment centres to assist SMEs to put more effort into recruitment, use multiple recruitment strategies, and fulfill their responsibility to profitably tap into a variety of youth communities. We help youth who may struggle with the soft skills they need to get and keep work, and the survey shows SMEs recognize that challenge. Growing SMEs and tackling at-risk youth employment challenges is mutually beneficial.

-Matt Wood, Executive Director, First Work: The Ontario Association of Youth Employment Centres, Toronto