Cool unemployment story Canadian bros, tell it to us again. Despite claims of a robust economy, BC Millennials aren’t seeing any of it. Closer scrutiny of the market shows this is especially true for Millennial women. They find it harder to find a job, find less work, and even get paid less for it.
Unemployment Numbers Are Bulls**t
Officially, Canada’s unemployment number is a healthy 7%. We took a closer look at that number last week however, and found that only half of Canadians actually work. A similar trend is occurring with young women.
Millennial unemployment in British Columbia is 9.5%. This is actually a strong number, that even improved by 15% from 2014. Although, like the rest of Canada there’s more to that story. An extra third of young women are “opting out” of the labour force, a.k.a. are non-participants.
For those that don’t know, people unemployed and not working are considered “non-participants”. Sometimes these people are retiring, sometimes they’re having kids, and sometimes they’re ill. But, this isn’t the case with the majority of millennial women, and here’s why.
Non-participants of the labour force is one of the fastest growing segments in Canada. The number of young women not participating in BC increased a whopping 17% in 2015 from the year prior. This brings the total number of women under the age of 30 not working to 161,047. That’s 37.2% of women in that age group, and 3.5% of all people in the province.
This doesn’t look like it’s going to improve anytime soon either. BC added 57,400 jobs in the last year, but only 8,000 went to millennials. That sounds awesome, until you realize that those same millennials lost 7,600 full-time jobs in the same year. Young women lost 2,200 of those full-time jobs, I guess that’s an almost win these days?
No, They Aren’t Lazy
Yeah, yeah, insert Boomer snarky remark about lazy millennials here. Well looking at the most recent Labour Force Survey gives us a very different picture. They want to work, aren’t having kids, and might be hiding their job search. So no, they aren’t just ‘being lazy’.
Women in this age group do want to work, and that’s increasing too. Last year there were 9,800 women under the age of 24 that want full-time employment, up 13% from 2014. In total, there’s 30,300 women that would like to work in BC – they just have no idea where to find jobs. In fact, this demographic is 17.44% more likely to want to work than men in similar circumstances. The most common reason for not looking is discouragement from a prior unsuccessful job-hunt.
Some of you might be thinking well, they’re busy churning out babies. Not even close. The most recent data set from Statistics Canada (2011), say women now give birth in their early 30’s. This is a trend that’s been getting older ever since the late 60’s in Canada.
More recent stats on younger women giving birth, show it’s a statistically insignificant number. Statistics Canada has kept the number confidential for the past few years. They do this when a dataset is too small because it could identify survey participants. The last number published was 1,600 – so it’s safe to say the number is now less than that.
I Like, Don’t Even Really Want A Job…Unless You Have One
If you remove the number of young women in BC that can’t work because of school, illness, family commitments, or other obligations – you’re left with 98,600 millennial women. That’s right, only 5.5k people get removed from the number of non-participants. So are 23% of millennial women just sitting around?
You know when you try something you want to do, but fail miserably… then tell everyone you didn’t really want to do it anyway? If not, what’s it like to shit rainbows? If so, you can relate to these women. Telling a stranger at StatCan you tried to find a job, but sucked at it isn’t something everyone feels comfortable doing. It’s just a survey to a bureaucrat, but it’s an admission of failing a significant milestone to these women.
Part-Time Wages, Full-Time Struggles
The few lucky young women that nab a job, likely scored a part-time job. Not because they wanted part-time work, but because that’s all they can find. These women are overrepresented in part-time employment, struggle to find progress, and have less full-time opportunities.
Young women are overrepresented in part-time roles in BC. A whopping 67% of all part-time jobs filled by people in this age group are filled by women. Despite taking great pride in our country’s women’s rights, not a lot has changed over the past 10 years. In 2005, this number was only 1 percentage point higher.
This wouldn’t be a problem if everyone was happy with the arrangement, but they aren’t. 36,200 of these part-time employees are seeking better opportunities or more hours. According to the Labour Force Survey, the most cited reason is that they just can’t find better jobs. 2,900 of them even look for it for more than 30 hours a week, between their shift work. If you can’t find a full-time gig and you’re looking for one full-time, there’s a serious problem.
Unfortunately, BC being the land of opportunity it is – this isn’t getting better. Part-time opportunities for women grew by 9% last year. Which sounds great, if full-time opportunities for women didn’t shrink by 1.3%. I might not be a math wiz, but I feel like that stat is heading in the wrong direction from improvement.
The Wage Gap Is Getting Larger
If the picture wasn’t bleak enough for this segment of the economy, the pay sucks too. In fact, over the past 10 years the gap became 1.5% wider for women under the age of 24. This segment of women earn only 67% of their male peers. Women aged 25 – 54 do slightly better, earning 70% of what their male peers earned. Sure that number’s a higher, but it’s also a 3% decline from 2005. This is yet another factor that shows things are heading in the wrong direction in BC.
Our politicians declare they’re feminists on Twitter, and talk about looking out for young people. Unfortunately, there’s little real numbers to back up this fiction being spun. Just saying it, is about as effective as declaring bankruptcy by just yelling it out of a window.
We’re engineering numbers for appearances, which really only helps to attract foreign investment. Meanwhile, we’re marginalizing young people, and forgetting about them. This lack of attention is feeding the discouragement, and is going to have serious consequences. If you can’t relate to this socially, remember that this is half of BC’s economic future. If almost a quarter of young adults are disillusioned in their prime working years, than the entire economy is going to have a pretty big gap to fill.