Young Albertans compete for jobs with laid-off energy sector workers

Young job seekers in Alberta, already struggling with a high youth unemployment rate, are finding themselves competing with much more experienced workers.

High youth unemployment rate plus tight labour market has students pounding the pavement longer

Young people are having a tough time getting jobs in Alberta as laid-off oil and gas workers vie for the same jobs, experts say. (Reuters)

Young job seekers in Alberta, already struggling with a high youth unemployment rate, are finding themselves competing with much more experienced workers.

According to Statistics Canada, the youth unemployment average in Alberta is 11.8 per cent so far this year.

That's up one per cent from last year and nearly four points higher than the overall provincial rate.

About Staffing CEO Sharlene Massie says today's job market includes a lot of people who have been laid off from oil industry positions.

"These younger workers are coming in looking for their first jobs and they're competing against people with, you know, five, 10,15, 20 and up years of experience."

University student Summer Kamel, 21,  is trying to find part-time work.

"Last year when I would apply for two jobs, for example, and I would get at least one of them. Now I'm getting nothing out of 20 jobs," she said.

Students are also seeing more competition for career-track jobs, says Colleen Bangs, manager of Career Services at the U of C.

"It's going to be a tough slog, it's going to be longer, and you're going to have to work harder," she said.

"It's those little things like customizing every single resume, making phone calls, doing some cold calling, really putting yourself out there."

To make matters worse, a recent ATB Financial report predicts Alberta's unemployment rate will rise over the next few months.