Labour Market Trends

DWA launches its 2016 Durham Under 30 Survey

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youth for surveyLarge

In response to a steepening youth unemployment rate in the Oshawa Oshawa Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), the Durham Workforce Authority is launching its Durham Under 30 Survey.

Several community consultations with service providers, the Boys and Girls Club of Durham Region, Family Court Clinic, E-Camp Mentoring, UpNext Ajax team, and the planning team for Oshawa’s 3 Point Plan for Youth Employment indicated  existing labour market base indicators did not identify skills gaps and service needs for the 15-29 population.

This isn’t the first time such a survey has been taken. In 2013 the DWA conducted its first survey of Durham youth.  The survey results were used to better understand local organization programming needs.

The Durham Under 30 Survey includes an assessment of five of the nine federally identified essential skills. These results can be compared against the LEPC Employer Survey to contrast the essential skill levels of youth against the essential skills.

In May 2016, youth unemployment (15-24 years old) in Oshawa Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), which includes Oshawa, Whitby and Clarington was 13.7 per cent compared to the same CMA population of 25-44 with an unemployment rate of 4.7 per cent.

According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, the Oshawa Census Metropolitan Area has had one of the highest youth unemployment rates.

Further, the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) shows 40 per cent of youth are employed in one of 10 occupations, most of which are entry level occupations with limited opportunity for growth. In order to address an aging workforce, Durham Region needs to attract and retain youth populations.

Results compiled from the survey’s data helps to inform local employers and educational institutions in making better employment, training and program planning decisions. It also provides just-in-time local labour market information that is more detailed than data obtained through secondary sources allowing employers, Employment Ontario service providers and community service organizations to better serve Durham Region youth’s unique service needs.

Our goals for the 2016 Durham Under 30 Survey

•    Increase global response rates from 800 to 1,000 completed surveys.
•    Increase response rates of 20-24 year olds from 86 respondents to 120 respondents.
•    Share survey results through four community presentations. This will provide an 80 per cent increase in understanding of youth service needs and labour force attachment.

The Durham Under 30 Survey will deepen the understanding of the under 30 population and allow community organizations, educational institutions and employers to adjust programs and services offered. In addition, the survey will allow for more wholesome discussions about systemic youth unemployment and under-employment.

Previous survey results have been shared with the broader community, in both raw data responses and presentation reports via the Employment Ontario Service Providers meetings, the Literacy Service Coordination meetings, Local Diversity and Immigration Partnership Council, the Durham District School Board, the Durham Catholic District School Board and community based service providers outside the Employment Ontario network.

The survey results have been used to initiate community projects such as the City of Oshawa’s 3 Point Plan for Youth Employment and Hope, the Town of Ajax’s Up Next Ajax initiative, and a youth employment grant for Ajax Library.

Survey participants can fill out the survey one line with an option to fill out a ballot to win one of several prizes.  The prizes will be drawn once the survey closes in December.

To fill out the survey, click here:

Leveraging Labour Market Information for Small Business

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Using all the available free community assets is key to managing and growing a successful small business.  Learning about local labour market information and how it can be leveraged to support the aims of area small businesses is a hidden secret in the Durham Region.  The Durham Workforce Authority (DWA) recently presented local labour market information to members of the Durham Home and Small Business Association (DHSBA).

Labour market information (LMI) is information on the structure of businesses in your area – how many small businesses, what sectors they are in, which sector has worked to develop a cluster.  LMI also provides decision makers with information about the employed and unemployed populations; their commuting patterns, occupations, skill sets and average wages.

Understanding this information can help small business to hone in on its target markets – knowing the commuting patterns and disposable income information can assist small business in creating targeted marketing campaigns that will effectively reach those markets.

Small businesses that are looking to partner with other business to provide complete service to clients also can use this LMI to understand and connect with the like-minded businesses in their sector.

The Skill Shed Survey asked employers about what types of skills they would like to see employees possess. Employers were surveyed on five of the nine essential skills but were also provided an opportunity to discuss other skills they would like to see in the workplace. The following is a list of those skills listed by employers:

  • Sales skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Knowledge of technical devices
  • Fluency in ASL
  • Understanding of HTML (including the ability to write)
  • Understanding of social media practices
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Work ethic
  • Teamwork
  • Integrity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Food preparation skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving


The DWA also has access to commuting patterns and average wages of service sector workers and here is a sample of that information:

Commuting patterns - Occupations data table


The Durham Workforce Authority (DWA), is one of 26 provincial workforce development boards created by the Government of Ontario to be the voice of communities and their constituencies to government. They facilitate labour market development at the community level.

Here is the DWA presentation made to the Durham Home and Small Business DHSBA Presentation

Want specific LMI related to your sector?  Please contact us at:

DWA’s Youth Survey will help get youth back to work

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In today’s economy things are tough so job seekers need an edge to gain a foothold in the marketplace.

The Durham Workforce Authority (DWA) wants to help, especially youth between the ages of 15 and 24. The organization is conducting a Youth Survey designed to address employment issues of young workers.

The survey is easy to complete online by going to

It asks a series of 38 questions about you such as your level of education, job status, what types of employment you’re seeking, what skill sets you possess and whether or not you’re aware of youth services and programs in Durham Region. It takes about 20 minutes to fill out and for your time DWA will be making a draw for an iPad. Anyone who fills out the survey is automatically entered into the draw.

“The DWA and its community partners want to ensure that we address our youth unemployment issue, and the first step in understanding is to seek feedback from our youth.  The survey results will be shared widely and be used to make future programming recommendations,” said DWA Executive Director Heather McMillan.

A recent DWA labour market plan measuring unemployment for three months, October to December 2012 found youth unemployment was 4.5 times that of all other unemployment. The unemployment rate for individuals aged 15 to 24, Oshawa CMA in December 2012, was a startling 23 per cent, the overall unemployment rate for the same CMA was 6.2 per cent. Toronto’s youth unemployment was slightly better at 15 per cent.

It’s vital to reverse this trend as Durham Region’s youth play a key role in the region’s economic success today and in the future.

In an interview with Maralyn Tassone, executive director for Durham Region Unemployed Help Centre, said young people have to start making money in order to buy houses, cars and essentially drive Durham’s economy.

“If we don’t have young people who are actually getting jobs with a reasonable wage … I shudder to think what’s going to happen to Canada’s economy,” she said.

For more information about the Youth Survey or the other work DWA is involved in visit

Labour Market Information Power Point

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The DWA recently delivered a labour market information presentation to VPI clients, find the link to the power point here.

lmi presentation vpi

An additional option for academic upgrading can be found on