Mentoring & Employment

Youth are struggling to connect with employment opportunities.

Youth employment has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, particularly among young people from equity-seeking groups.

Decline in employment rates.

-6%

The employment rate of youth aged 15 to 30 fell by 6% during the pandemic, approximately 2x the decline observed among older Canadians.

-3%

13% of young women aged 15 to 30 were neither employed nor studying in 2020, a 3% decline compared to 2019.

Statistics Canada. (July 2021), Portrait of Youth in Canada: Data Report Chapter 2: Youth employment in Canada.

Mentorship could be the key to increase career opportunities for youth.

Did you have anyone in your life who you would consider a mentor, someone who you could count on to be there for you, believed in you, cared deeply about you, and inspired you to do your best, between the ages of 6 to 18?

44%

of young adults grew up without the support of any mentor.

Employment and mentoring are directly related.

Mentors help build skills and offer guidance.

1 in 2

Nearly half of youth who were mentored during their teen years acquired job-related skills with the help of their mentor.

1 in 3

Over one-third of mentored youth indicated that their mentor shaped their career aspirations.

1 in 3

Close to one-third of youth whose most important mentor was a formal mentor got their first job with the help of that mentor.

Mentored youth are more likely to be employed or studying.

59% more likely

Young adults who had a mentor during their childhood or adolescence are 59% more likely to be working or studying than their peers who did not have any mentor.

78% more likely

Young adults who had a formal mentor are 78% more likely to be working or studying compared to youth who only had informal mentors.

+11%

Proportion of mentored young adults with a diagnosed disability who are employed or studying compared to those who did not have access to mentoring during their childhood or adolescence.

+11%

Proportion of mentored newcomer youth who are employed or studying compared to those who did not have access to mentoring.

+8%

Proportion of mentored youth who faced adverse life circumstances growing up who are employed or studying compared to those who did not have access to mentoring.

Mentors support youth’s overall well-being and set the foundation for their professional success.

Youth who had a mentor during their childhood or adolescence are more likely to feel positive about their career plans than their non-mentored peers.

Mentored youth are 95% more likely to have pursued further education or training after high school.

The influence of youth’s most important mentors during their teen years.

73%

report that their mentor had a significant influence on their confidence in their abilities.

70%

report that their mentor had a significant influence on their hope and optimism for the future.

58%

report that their mentor had a significant influence on their ability to know where they wanted to go in life.

The State of Mentoring Research Initiative

Mentor Canada launched The State of Mentoring Research Initiative in 2019, the first ever pan-Canadian study on youth mentoring, with data and evidence that shows how mentoring young people across the country can support their career pathways.

Learn more

Youth want mentorship but they struggle to connect with opportunities.

1 in 2

Over one in two young adults recall a time during their childhood or adolescence when they would have wanted a mentor but did not have access to one.

1 in 3

Over one-third of young adults faced barriers accessing mentors during their teen years.

Youth from equity-seeking groups recall a time when they would have wanted a mentor but did not have access to one.

69%

of youth experiencing a functional disability.

69%

of sexual minority youth.

61%

of Indigenous youth.

Closing the mentoring gap means working to ensure that every young person who wishes to have a mentor is able to access the right mentor, or mentors, capable of responding to their unique goals and needs, and to do so when they need it the most.

Tracy Luca-Huger
Interim Executive Director, Mentor Canada

To help youth recover from the pandemic, our society should unleash the power of mentoring.

Mentors can respond to youth’s unique needs and offer holistic support to assist them on their educational and professional journeys.

4 in 5

Canadians believe that mentoring benefits not only youth, but our society as a whole.

Many Canadians endorsed a myriad of societal benefits when our young people are mentored.

68%

believe mentoring leads to increased access to and readiness for employment.

68%

believe mentoring leads higher educational achievement.

55%

believe mentoring leads increased diversity in the workforce.

What can employers, policymakers, and philanthropists do?

Invest in quality mentoring programs.

Adopt policies that encourage the inclusion of mentoring approaches in youth programs and services.

Adopt policies that support employees’ involvement in mentoring such as paid time to mentor a young person.

Participate in public awareness campaigns such a mentoring month to help more young people and adults gain a deeper understanding of mentorship’s value and potential.

Lead by example: include references to mentoring in everyday conversations and adopt a mentoring mindset in every interaction with young people.

What does mentoring look like?

Formal mentors

Structured programs such as youth mentoring programs, academic programs, or workplace programs.

Only about 16% of young adults were able to participate in a formal mentoring program during their childhood or adolescence.

Informal mentors

Organic mentoring relationships that young people develop with caring adults in their surroundings such as teachers, coaches, Elders, and community leaders.

Natural mentors

Supportive relationships with family members, neighbours, friends.

How do we close the mentoring gap?

Meet youth where they are at.

“Youth believe that it is crucial that mentorship happens within public education settings […]. In order to develop youth’s social capital, it is essential for youth to be exposed to mentorship and rapport building early on in their education.”

Students Commission of Canada (2021), Building a Mentoring Movement in Canada.

Empower young people to identify and recruit mentors.

According to adults who have never mentored, the most compelling reason that might persuade them to get involved would be if a young person asked them to be their mentor.

Pay it forward.

Young adults who were mentored growing up are twice as likely to become mentors themselves.

My mentors helped guide me, they helped create this irreplaceable experience that is now the foundation to my career growth, and they also helped me paint the big picture in my life which to me I think is priceless.

Ipellie Foo
Indigenous Youth

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Learn more about our research in our Knowledge Hub, and share this page to help us spread the word about the effects of mentoring on youth employment.

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