OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada governor is recommending jobless young people burnish their CVs by working for free while they wait for the hobbled job market to pick up.
Speaking to a House of Commons committee Tuesday, Stephen Poloz suggested young Canadians struggling to find work should acquire more experience through unpaid internships or volunteering.
When asked what kind of advice he normally gives a young person looking for work in the tough job environment, Poloz told the committee he replies: “Well, volunteer to do something which is at least somewhere related to your expertise set, so it is clear that you are gaining some learning experience during that period.”
He said hiring in Canada has failed to keep up with the already improving economy.
“Our belief is, though, that over the next two years we will manage to close up that gap,” Poloz told the finance committee in response to a question about youth unemployment.
“So, we’re hopeful that it does not last a really long time.”
Poloz added, however, that recent graduates who have not been able to find work will have to compete for jobs against the fresh crop of new grads that arrive after them.
Liberal MP Scott Brison asked Poloz at the hearing whether he thought unpaid internships were more of a benefit for wealthier youth because young people from a lower-income background can’t afford to work for free.
Poloz acknowledged it was an issue with unpaid work, but he recommended young people take the opportunities when they are available.
The central banker’s remarks in Ottawa came a day after he said in a speech that 200,000 young Canadians are out of work, underemployed or back in school trying to improve their job prospects.
“I bet almost everyone in this room knows at least one family with adult children living in the basement,” said in the prepared speech he delivered in Toronto.
“I’m pretty sure these kids have not taken early retirement.”
Following Monday’s address, Poloz also discussed the advice he offers to young people looking for guidance.
Poloz told a news conference he would tell them: “Get some real-life experience even though you’re discouraged, even if it’s for free. If your parents are letting you live in the basement, you might as well go out and do something for free to put the experience on your CV.”