About that Career Plan: Millenials, Gen Zs and the Future of Work

2020, Future of Work, Series Distant Not Disengaged

The professional is personal, especially for young workers. 

From 2005 to 2016, the number of Canadians who were considered economic “gig workers” grew by 700,000, and British Columbia has the most gig workers of any other province or territory. COVID-19 has contributed to some of the highest unemployment rates we’ve seen in recent history. Millennials and Gen Zs are being warned that, more than ever, their generations are overeducated and underemployed. We’ve witnessed the crash and burn of marketplace “innovations” such as WeWork, Car2Go and Foodora Canada alongside a pronounced fall in unionization rates amongst young workers. We’re taught in high school planning to identify a career path and follow it through—but is a “career path” a thing of the past? 

Join CityHive, SFU Public Square and the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue with special guest co-facilitators Global Shapers as we host storytelling and dialogue on the future(s) of young workers. We'll be joined by economists, labour scholars, gig workers, salaried employees, union representatives, entrepreneurs and recent graduates who will share the good, the bad and the ugly about their personal work stories, and where they see employment heading in the future.

Guiding questions

  • What kinds of jobs will be available?
  • What trends were emerging in the youth (<30) labour force prior to COVID-19, and how will COVID-19’s impact on labour and employment impact youth moving forward?
  • What does it mean to be “overeducated” or “underemployed,” and how do these phenomena particularly impact youth (15-30)?
  • How are young people relating to unions as gig/precarious work continues to rise? Is there a disconnect and, if so, how do we move forward?
  • How and where will we be working, and are offices over?
Thu, 28 May 2020

12:00 - 1:15 p.m. (PT)

Online Event

Distant, Not Disengaged

Distant, Not Disengaged was created as an experimental and innovative online event series to illuminate the urgent issues and opportunities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The series was a collaboration between SFU Public Square, the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and community partner CityHive.

Watch the Series Recap


Linxi Mytkolli — a manager at YouthfulCities, where she works with youth in cities around the world through research and engagement programs to help them make their cities better places to work, live and play.

Jake Hirch-Allen — a connector and social intrapreneur who currently leads LinkedIn's work with North America's governments to leverage LinkedIn Learning Solutions to close skills gaps through their workforce development and higher education systems.

Thomas McKechnie — of Foodsters United is a playwright, organizer, and facilitator of good trouble.

Shagufta Pasta —  researcher and experiential education project manager at SFU focused on creating an equitable present and future of work.

Kendra Strauss — Associate Professor in Sociology and Anthropology at SFU, Director of the Labour Studies Program

Matthew Norris — a member of the Lac La Ronge First Nation, the vice-president of the Urban Native Youth Association and co-chair of the Vancouver Just Recovery Coalition. He is a Ph.D. student at UBC in the Department of Political Science and is a policy advisor to Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle. He has a long history in policy and advocacy work on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Graphic facilitation by Kim Nipp

Further Reading 

Distant, Not Disengaged Final Report

Learn about the series’ impact on community connection and dialogue in this report featuring testimonials, media highlights, supporting resources and more.

What is the future of work for millennials and Gen Zs? — CBC's All Points West (May 27, 2020)


Distant, Not Disengaged Events