Young people in Nova Scotia want more out of their work than employment. They’re also looking for challenge and sense of purpose, so much so that they’re willing to trade driver’s licenses to get it.
Out-migration statistics from CANSIM matched with our survey results can help contextualize this statement. While out-migration has decreased and levelled off in recent years, Nova Scotia is still losing more young people than it is gaining.
Out-migration is often framed as a problem caused by a lack of work, and yet 70% of young full-time workers indicate a willingness to leave the province in pursuit of a job. It seems there's more to out-migration than employment.
So what's missing?
Our long form survey responses reveal a more complex image. Young people repeatedly indicate a desire for purpose — a sense of contributing to something greater than the actual work. This was also a common theme throughout our interviews, which featured a selected group of twenty young people from across this province.
In addition to purpose, our survey suggests that young people are looking for challenge in their work. Individuals who reported a greater level of challenge were also more likely to report a higher level of life satisfaction.
So, if young people are leaving Nova Scotia, and a job won’t necessarily keep them, what will? Our data suggests that young people want to be connected to a greater purpose, to feel challenged, and feel that what they’re doing matters. If we can build these characteristics into the jobs that young people do here, we might be able to help curb the issue of out-migration.
Not a bad resolution for 2018.