Toronto, ON, April 28, 2022 — Over two years since the World Health Organization first declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the world entered a period of on-and-off lockdowns, a recent Ipsos poll carried out on behalf of RBC Royal Bank has found that despite this adversity, young Canadians are not only optimistic and resilient, but also believe that there are new work opportunities available to them because of the pandemic.
The data show some encouraging trends regarding young Canadians’ outlook. For instance, over three-quarters (77%) of young Canadians aged 14-29 years report being satisfied to some degree (22% very/55% somewhat) with their lives. In fact, nearly two-thirds (64%) report feeling happy on a regular basis, a proportion that is higher among those young Canadians living in Quebec (74%), but lower among those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (57%).
Even with lockdowns and social distancing, seven in ten (71%) say they have avoided feeling isolated on a regular basis. For some, the pandemic may have even been a time for inspiration and motivation; one-third (34%) of Canadian youth report that the pandemic was either ‘always’ (8%) or ‘usually’ (26%) a source of motivation for them. Despite their shortcomings, online schooling and virtual hangouts with family and friends over the past two years may have made remote work opportunities more interesting for many, with younger Canadians just entering the job market being no exception. Nearly eight in ten (79%) say that the pandemic actually created new opportunities for them in the world of work.
As for young Canadians who have been working during the pandemic, six in ten (60%) report they are working in a job in their desired career path. However, access to mentors is an area of concern; only four in ten (39%) young Canadians have a career mentor they can rely on.
Lasting Negative Impact of Pandemic Cannot Be Ignored
While the data show that young Canadians are coming out of the pandemic with a resilient attitude and a sense of optimism, it is impossible to ignore the lasting negative impact of the past two years. Canadians of all generations have had their lives disrupted by the pandemic, but young Canadians have had to go through many of life’s formative milestones (such as graduating from school, moving away from home to start college/university, or getting their first job) in a radically different context.
As the country turns the page on the pandemic, it is important to keep in mind that young Canadians will continue to feel the impact of the past two years. For instance, even though seven in ten (71%) say they have avoided feeling isolated on a regular basis, the fact remains that nearly one in ten (8%) say they ‘always’ feel isolated and that two in ten (21%) say they ‘usually’ feel that way.
In addition, young Canadians who identify as female, Indigenous, LGBTQ2S+, or having a disability continue to have the hardest time. Females aged 18-29 not working in their desired field are more likely than males to say the pandemic is having a negative effect on their mental health. Those youth identifying as Indigenous, LGBTQ2S+, and having a disability are the most likely to rate various aspects of their life as ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’.
For a quarter (26%) of young Canadians, mental well-being is the area of their life where they feel they need the most support, above other areas such as skills development and education (22%), career opportunities (19%), work experience (17%), networking (12%), or some other area (3%). As mentioned earlier, the proportion naming mental health as the area of their lives where they need to most support is higher among those who identify as having a disability (50%), LGBTQ2S+ (45%), and female (32%).
About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between January 21 and February 28, 2022, on behalf of RBC Royal Bank. For this survey, a sample of 1,800 young Canadians (aged 14-29 years) was interviewed on the I-Say panel. For those under 18 years of age, permission from a parent/guardian was required before they could participate.
Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the target population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all young Canadians between the ages of 14-29 years been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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