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Denise Proulx August 15, 2012
Original French text:http://tvanouvelles.ca/lcn/economie/archives/2012/08/20120815-150305.html
Young people are lazy? Far from it, says a group of observers who analyzed the youth workforce.
Actually, young people work one and a half times more than adults, with an average workweek of 46 hours when we add classroom time and housework to the hours spent at work.
At the beginning of this week, the head of the CAQ, Francois Legault, criticized students for living the good life instead of working. “I’m quite scared that they are headed towards becoming the burnout generation. Young people work too much, they have completely adhered to the productivity model, even more so than the rest of the population,” says author and Sociology professor Jacques Roy, recently retired from Cegep Saint-Foy.
Various statistics confirm that young people aged 15 to 24 are heavily present in the workforce. A study conducted for the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) of 12 600 universities confirms this trend.
In the fall of 2009, the number of hours worked by university students studying full-time for their bachelor’s degrees was 18.7 hours per week. Additionally, 41.4% of working students worked more than 20 hours per week. In Canada, university students work an average of 15 hours per week.
“Young Quebeckers work more than the Canadian average. The statistics speak for themselves,” said the president of the FEUQ, Martine Desjardins. “Young people aren’t less determined than before. In fact, they have never worked harder”.
Between class and McDonalds
The book “Entre la class et les McJobs”, a portrait of a generation of Cegep students by Jacques Roy published last spring, stated that 72% of Cegep students work while studying an average of 17 hours per week.
Additionally, one cegep student in four (27%) sacrifices 20 hours or more per week during the school year to a paid job. Before 1980, there were only 17% of youth aged 17 to 20 who worked while in cegep.
“Not working while studying is hard to imagine in a lot of circumstances,” said the Sociology professor.
Martine Desjardins has the same opinion: “It’s culturally encouraged.”
For personal development
66% of students believe that their presence in the work force contributes to their personal development and 8% believe that it contributes to their study path.
“Young people don’t work to survive, but to give themselves material comfort,” according to Jacques Roy. “They have grown up in a consumption-based society. They are very anxious to obtain financial independence from their parents.”
Young people also believe that being in the work force develops their sense of responsibility and gives them a taste of the realities of the job market which will help them once they’ve obtained their diplomas.
The FEUQ doesn’t share that opinion. The organization feels that many students work to reduce personal debt or the stress of a high cost of living.
In 2009, 43.6% of university students studying full time for their bachelor’s degrees thought their job had a negative impact on their school performance and 32.4% said that their job was the reason for extending their studies.
“The health impacts on young people are serious,” said the retired professor. “As a professor, I often saw full time students who worked lose their motivation”.
With Francois Legault’s proposition regarding tuition increases, the FEUQ calculated that young people will have to work between 22 and 23 hours per week to pay their tuition.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.