Government: The Way of the Future?
DISCLAIMER: AIESEC is a non-political organization. AIESEC Canada does not endorse and is not affiliated with any federal, provincial, local, or international political party or person.
With Alberta recently changing government and the entire country gearing up for a federal election this fall, the Canadian political landscape is more intriguing than ever.But statistics say that young people like myself shouldn’t, in fact, be intrigued. After all the youngest age group (18-24) only had a 38.8% voter turnout in the 2011 federal election: the lowest of all ages (Elections Canada).
Now before you exit out of this window thinking this is going to be another article on youth apathy, what if I told you youth are actually more interested in government than ever?
And I have numbers to back it up.
What if I told you that among all industries in Canada, government is the most popular sector that young people are interested in?
That’s right, folks. Politics is cool again… Or is it?
Every year, AIESEC Canada polls university students across Canada to gain a better insight into what youth are looking for in their future employers. The AIESEC Canada Youth Voice Survey powered by Leger revealed this year that 44% of respondents are interested in the government sector with the financial services sector a close second.
When I first saw how the government sector was the most popular, I asked myself why this might be the case. Often times the “politician” title has a negative connotation. Broken promises, manipulation, slimy even. And when I was younger (saying that makes me feel old), I didn’t hear many kids answer “politician” when asked what they want to be when they grow up. Heck, I wanted to be an astronaut and my friends wanted to be firefighters.
But then I thought if a kid was to say, “I want to be Prime Minister”, then that all of a sudden seems like an amazing dream for a child to have. It’s a leadership position, perhaps the biggest leadership role you can take in this country. You’re responsible for over 30 million people’s well-being.
So I initially concluded that since AIESEC is an organization that believes leadership is the fundamental solution, it’s not actually that surprising that AIESECers are interested in government. In fact, former Presidents of the United States are AIESEC alumni. For all we know, one of over 1000 people who filled out the AIESEC Canada Youth Voice Survey could one day be a Prime Minister of Canada.
But then my friend brought up a potential hole in this theory. We need to remember that the “government” sector includes not just politicians, but government employees as well. So I did some digging and found that a report by the Parliamentary Budget Office revealed the average total compensation (salary plus benefits) to be $114,100 for federal public servants (i.e. both politicians and government employees) in 2012 (Beltrame). Given that this number is more than triple the 2012 median income of 31,320 (Statistics Canada), do the youth of today value cushy benefits over having a positive, direct impact on society?
Stay tuned for the full Youth to Business 2015 Report to find the answer to this question, where we’ll also give you the inside scoop on workplace professional development priorities, expected workplace personal development among youth, and much more.
Jay Turchansky – PR Writer
Beltrame, J. (2012). Public Service Salaries: Canada Pays Average Bureaucrat $114,000, Watchdog Finds. The Canadian Press. Published by the Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/11/public-service-salaries-canada_n_2275037.html
Elections Canada. (Date unknown). Estimation of Voter Turnout by Age Group and Gender at the 2011 Federal General Election. Elections Canada. Retrieved from http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&dir=rec/part/estim/41ge&document=report41&lang=e#p41
Statistics Canada. (Last modified 2014). Individuals by total income level, by province and territory (Canada). Statistics Canada. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/famil105a-eng.htm