Increased fiscal pressures have forced governments around the world to tighten purse strings. In response, Canada has recently announced changes to Old Age Security and Employment Insurance in an effort to adjust our social support system for an aging population. As these changes will have an impact on every Canadian, we should take time to consider how to plan for the future. For generations, the common wisdom was to put away 10% of every pay for a rainy day. However, during times of economic uncertainty saving becomes difficult and debt can pile up. This becomes more challenging when job loss occurs, and Employment Insurance becomes the only source of income.
Employment Insurance (EI) is intended to provide short-term relief when a person has lost their job through no fault of their own; it is a safety net for individuals to search for suitable employment (work relative to experience, education, and previous income). Currently, EI provides 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings to a maximum of $45,900/year or $485/week. Proposed changes to EI have real implications for an individual’s job search. Previously an EI recipient could wait for a job at their former income level. However, changes being proposed would provide more stringent timelines and could ultimately mean accepting a job at 70% of your previous pay.
So, what can you do to plan in times of uncertainty? Nobody wants to be saving every nickel and dime; we want to enjoy the fruits of our labour. And we certainly cannot see what the next 20 years will bring. But we can prepare, and plan our careers. Here are some concrete steps you can take:
- What is important to you? What do you love? What gets you out of bed every morning? Take an inventory of these things. Could you build them into a career or generate supplemental income? Consider it.
- Have you lost your passion for a specific job? Are you looking for a change? Talk to an employment counsellor to identify your interests and transferrable skills. You would be amazed at how many doors are open to you.
- Has it been a while since you were in school? Continuing education is big! Look into training – it might be a weekend seminar, or an entire program. Whatever it is, you are sure to gain valuable skills and knowledge. There are also many part-time options available, allowing time for other commitments. It is achievable.
- Do you live to work? Or work to live? Decide how important loving your job is to you. If you can make sacrifices it might make it easier to find a job to support the life you want.
- What do you want in 10 years? Is it what you have now? Will it exist in 10 years? Develop your knowledge of trends, enhance your employable skills, and have multiple options to remain competitive. Also make sure you are prepared to adapt with changes over time. Doing this can prepare you for layoffs that might come down the road.
- Do you work in a seasonal career? Are there layoffs each year? Look at options to fill the “seasonal gap.” Take the opportunity to meet with a career development expert, and develop a plan for year round employment.
- Do you know other people in your industry? Do you know people across a variety of industries? Always remember to develop your professional networks. These people will speed up the process of finding a new job when a change occurs.
The labour market can be overwhelming, especially in time of uncertainty and change.
But remember, you have the tools and ability to take control of your own future. Develop a Plan B, and even a Plan C. Remember to explore options, keep skills currents, develop new skills, and create networks. If you want more information you can always come in and talk to one of our employment experts. We can help.