Toronto ranks first for youth opportunities, but youth unemployment a problem: Study
Toronto's skyline is pictured. (Chris Kitching/CP24)
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Monday, November 23, 2015 11:44AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 23, 2015 11:49AM EST
A new report says Toronto is tops when it comes to youth investment.
The “Accelerating Pathways Study” was commissioned by Citi Foundation, the philanthropic branch of Citigroup, and conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit. It compared the economic environment for youth in 35 major cities around the globe across 31 key indicators.
Toronto came first or tied for first place in 14 of those indicators, including local government support for youth, quality of employment opportunities, quality of healthcare, access to technology and ease of opening a new business – factors the study’s authors say indicate the prospect that a young person can improve his/her economic situation.
“Toronto is proud to be ranked as the best city in the world for providing economic opportunities for young people,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement issued along with the results Monday. “As mayor, a key priority for me is continuing to attract young talent because I believe it is critical to ensuring Toronto can compete and grow our economy. We understand the key to building a fair and prosperous city includes connecting young people to jobs.”
The study praised Toronto for its system of youth networks in the public and private sectors, as well as youth-focused NGOs. It also cited a 2012 workforce development study that emphasized opportunities for youth and the 2009 public-private PAYE initiative (Partnership to Advance Youth Employment).
New York took second place is the ranking, followed by Chicago, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Toronto was the only Canadian city included in the study.
“What sets the leaders apart is consistency across all areas of the index—an acknowledgement that improving opportunities for youth requires a multifaceted approach, not a narrow set of policies,” the study’s authors said.
High youth unemployment persists
But while Toronto took top spot overall, the study’s authors point out that the city still has room for improvement in some areas.
“The Accelerating Pathways study also highlights areas where Toronto’s economic youth drivers need improvement, including employment growth and youth optimism for the future, in which Toronto placed 28th and 30th, respectively, out of the 35 cities studied,” Citi Foundation said in its release.
While the conditions for young people to improve themselves are good in Toronto, the city continues to grapple with a high rate of youth unemployment, the study’s authors said.
“In 2015 a city report put the youth unemployment rate at 18%—double the city’s average unemployment rate and one of the highest rates in the province,” the report said. “This is particularly striking given that adult employment has improved substantially since the start of the economic recovery.”
The authors cite the rise of part-time, contract jobs over well-paying manufacturing and industrial jobs as a contributing factor, along with data showing that the ageing population is continuing to work longer in order to compensate for low levels of household savings.
The study’s authors say they hope the report will provide policymakers with key information to improve opportunities going forward for youth between the ages of 13 and 25.