Exploring and Countering the Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Youth Employment

On July 9th, 2020 I had the opportunity to attend a webinar entitled Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Youth Employment. This event was hosted by TakingITGlobal and the United Nations Association of Canada. The webinar focused on the potential impacts that COVID-19 will have on youth seeking employment in the near future, as and offered tangible and accessible tips to stand out in a job application.

Dr. Alina Turner, the co-founder and CEO of HelpSeeker, explains that due to COVID-19, there has been an “increase in demand for mental health support but the inability to always meet such demands”. As such, many youth seeking employment, as well as those already holding steady jobs, find it increasingly difficult to obtain the mental health support that is needed. COVID-19 has presented a unique set of challenges and difficulties which has increased the need for mental health resources and support. However, there has simultaneously been a push to move mental health to the backburner as physical health concerns have grown. Dr. Turner explains that such mental health challenges have made it even more difficult for youth to find employment.

Despite the challenges that have formed as a result of the pandemic, youth continue to display resilience and motivation in the face of disruption. While it is not easy to enter the job market with an uncertain economy or a lack of mental health support, many youth continue to demonstrate resilience and strength despite it all. Dr. Turner admits that the job hunt in the time of a pandemic and economic uncertainty is not easy but that youth are innovative and are “finding ways to support adaptation to destruction”. As such, youth continue to advocate for one another and are sharing their resilience with the world.

Image: Prexels

Although there are countless negatives of COVID-19, Kylie Hurst, a manager of You.i TV and an employment branding specialist, shares some of the positive workplace changes that have resulted due to COVID-19. These positive changes include:

– Diversity and inclusion call-out

– Location barriers removed with the increase in remote jobs and education

– Personal barriers removed with the increase in remote jobs and education (childcare, time of day, cost)

– Embracing individuality

These changes are all important and allow for increased access to employment, inclusion, and involvement that may have been lacking prior to COVID-19. With the rise of ZOOM meetings and online classes, education and employment are becoming more accessible to more individuals across the country.

In addition to the positive changes that may help youth in regards to employment, Hurst also shares some tips on how to standout in the job market. These tips include:

– Everything is an online business card, so make your online presence accessible and engaging (Portfolio, LinkedIn, etc.)

– Looking for a job is a full-time job: make a plan, organize, track, and update regularly

– Socialize on social: use social media platforms to connect with individuals who may help you (alumni networks, virtual events, etc.)

–  Build your resume: If you are fortunate and have been given additional free time as a result of COVID-19, use that time wisely to gain new credentials and experiences

Searching for a job can be intimidating and challenging, particularly with the lack of mental health support, the uncertainty of the economy, and for youth just entering the workforce. However, these tips should help to point you in the right direction. Resiliency is critical when searching for employment and embracing your individuality will set you on the right path for your future career.

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