With an aging population, low birth and immigration rates, and ‘brain drain’, Atlantic Canada faces major challenges for business and economic growth.  Gen Y’ers unique characteristics, such as adept use of technology and project-oriented attachment in the workforce, may be the key to revitalizing the Atlantic Canadian economy.

In this paper, AIMS Research Intern John Kennedy explains what makes his generation tick, and offers advice as to how businesses and policymakers can attract and retain these twenty-somethings to the Atlantic Canadian workforce.  Currently, Atlantic Canada is not a particularly lucrative locale for Gen Y.  It offers high taxes, expensive education, low wages and few job opportunities.

Gen Y’ers offer different skills (and different negative qualities) than generations past.  They are tech savvy, flexible, mobile, and in more circles of interconnectivity.  Though studies show young people who leave Atlantic Canada would like to return, low wages generally outweigh the perks of the ‘Atlantic lifestyle’.

Young Love outlines that provincial policymakers have attempted strategies to attract and retain Gen Y’ers, but have not been successful.  For Kennedy, proper attraction and retention starts with higher education, so Atlantic Canada should be presented as a hub of higher education and innovation.  Further, being ahead of the technological curve will appeal to Gen Y.  These, among other suggestions, offer a productive look at the importance of attracting and retaining the younger demographic to grow Atlantic Canada’s workforce.

Click here to read the full paper.