New Brunswick

Firms need to hire younger workers and mentor them, says Moncton economic expert

David St-Pierre didn’t have the experience to get the job, but needed the job to get the experience.

Employers urged to be more flexible with job requirements when recruiting young workers

An economic development expert in Moncton urges employers to hire young people and be prepared to do some intensive mentoring. The benefit is bright confident employees who will stick with you. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

It took David St-Pierre 11 months to get a job in his field after graduating from Universite de Moncton.

The reason? He didn't have the experience to get the job, but he needed the job to get the experience.

The computer science graduate said this dilemma faces many young people he knows in the city of Moncton, and economic development expert Frederic Gionet told CBC's Information Morning Moncton that means employers need to shift their perspectives.

"Companies and employers need to be more realistic and invest and really explore the talent that's coming out from university and colleges out here and really mentor [them]," said Gionet, who's the vice-president of business intelligence and operations of 3+, Greater Moncton's economic development corporation.

"That's going to be a new trend. There's a necessity to that," he said.

Frederic Gionet is vice president of business intelligence and operations of 3+, Greater Moncton's economic development corporation. (CBC News)

The conversation was spurred by a new BMO survey which showed Moncton to be leading the country in job growth. The city went up from last place, with 10-per cent increase in jobs in one year.

But St-Pierre and another young professional Joël Roy said the employment picture is a bit less rosy than that survey paints it.

"I am working in my field but it took me a long time to get back in my field," said Roy, who studied communications at Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick.

"[Many jobs] are minimum wage and part time. When you have a job that's 40 hours a week with a living wage, it's a call centre, and call centres are very hard on the mental state."

The importance of networking

St-Pierre said what really made the difference, and got him the job he has now with the federal government, is making the right connections.

"I think the most defining factor in my career is getting to know people," he said.

So if he had one piece of advice for people, it is: Go to networking events and seek out professionals in the field where you want to work.

St-Pierre said he hopes business and political leaders can give a hand up to new workers.

And more practical, hands-on workplace training would help too.

Joel Roy and David St-Pierre live and work in Moncton. (CBC News)

"Maybe have some more training programs for young people, because that's something that I have noticed that employers are looking for," he said. "Maybe train our young people to have those capacities so maybe they will better serve the employers."

Gionet said when it comes to young people leaving the province to find work or training, it's not the end of the world. They can gain that experience and perhaps come back better trained, he said.

But the onus should be on the employers to "be more aggressive" by selling themselves to potential employees and "key talent."

"You need to put your best shiny armour out there an your best suit and really shine out. You need to convince students in university 'why should you work for me? I might be the perfect place for you to grow,'" Gionet said.

With files from Information Morning Moncton