Youth & Innovation Project : New report reveals insights on how Canadian youth are navigating a new employment reality

Young people favor working in-person and income disparities between young female and male workers persist

WATERLOO, Ontario, May 29, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Youth & Innovation’s Project from the University of Waterloo’s latest report titled “Facing challenges, finding opportunity: Young people in Canada navigating a new employment reality” shares initial findings from the RBC Young People and Economic Inclusion Longitudinal Study, funded by RBC Future Launch. This report reveals the trends that are shaping young people’s employment experiences today including:

  • Many adolescents (ages 15-19) prefer to work fully in-person while transition youth (ages 20-24) favor hybrid models with an in-person component more than any other age group.
  • Young women in lower income groups earn significantly less than their male counterparts, suggesting that younger generations continue to experience gender pay differences as they begin their careers.
  • Young immigrants are less likely to be thriving at work than those born in Canada.
  • Young participants are optimistic about collaborating with decision-makers in the workplace; however, they have few opportunities to do so.

Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact and Innovation, RBC explains, "Employers are key to shaping the future of work and powering the economy. Mobilizing talent is critical and requires flexible and dynamic ways of working that embrace equity and inclusion. Our investment in this study reflects our commitment to empowering young Canadians and ensuring that their aspirations are realized as the world of work continues to change.”

Employers should consider the following opportunities to retain and leverage the unique abilities of their young talent:

  • Embrace the desire of younger employees to work in-person by providing meaningful in-person work experiences and supporting relationship-building when young people are in the office.
  • Promote equal pay initiatives for young women, financial literacy, and support women’s access to higher-paying jobs.
  • Implement initiatives to support young immigrants in their professional growth and integration into the workplace.
  • Create more opportunities for intergenerational collaboration at work and recognizing the value of diverse perspectives, especially in the context of an aging population.

“Our data suggests that despite the challenges young people face, there are opportunities for employers and young people to work together. When we work collaboratively across generations finding solutions to complex problems becomes more likely.” states Ilona Dougherty, Managing Director, from the Youth & Innovation Project.

The full report is now available at

For additional information, interviews, or expert commentary, please contact:

Ilona Dougherty, Managing Director for the Youth & Innovation Project
Phone: (514) 951-1831

About the Youth & Innovation Project

The Youth & Innovation Project is a research project based at the University of Waterloo that aims to understand and amplify the positive social, environmental and economic impact young people, 15 to 25 years old, have on organizations, communities and systems.

About the RBC Young People & Economic Inclusion Longitudinal Study

This six-year longitudinal study (2022-2028) aims to understand and measure the outcomes for young people who have participated in RBC funded programs and how these outcomes vary over time. This study has unique characteristics that make it a trendsetter for social impact measurement; it is longitudinal, has had over 20,000 young people opt in to date and it will allow comparisons with the Canadian population through the Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. This study is being funded by RBC Future Launch.