Young Canadian Students Optimistic About the Freelance Work Economy

A new study commissioned by Intel Canada found that an overwhelming amount of Canadian students nearing the end of their university careers are optimistic about finding employment and are ready to embrace freelance and contract work to kick-start their professional lives.

Around 65% of the more than 1,000 respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said they were optimistic about their career prospects, despite many (68%) also arguing that they were about to enter a tougher economic climate than their parents did when they began working.

Additionally, four in 10 said they saw trends in their fields that lean more towards working multiple part-time jobs, rather than one full-time one. Half said that doing contract work is a great way to build a resume. It might also be a good way to allow time to pursue other interests and hobbies, such as fitness, socialization, or hunting and fishing, sports practiced by 38 million people across the U.S. and Canada.

“This study reinforces what I’ve been hearing from students when I present to them on campus: that they’re actively taking on employment gigs and kick starting their careers,” says Amber Mac, a TV and radio host as well as an entrepreneur. “My top tip to them is to harness the power of their personal brand online, and turn their digital persona into a professional brand.”

About 42% of respondents said that more employment opportunities today offer contract work rather than permanent positions. “It’s certainly true that there has been a decline in the number of open-ended contracts,” said David Camfield, a labour studies professor at the University of Manitoba.

However, Camfield doesn’t necessarily view this trend as progress. “There’s also an active effort, I think, underway to lower worker’s expectations and to make everybody think that they have to be prepared to simply accept that kind of precarious work,” he said.

To round things off, Intel also asked students about the importance of having a “great laptop:” 68% agreed the right technology could enhance their chances of career success.

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