Say goodbye to the Brandons, Jessicas, Tylers, and Taylors. They’re leaving, and they’re not showing signs of returning. The names sound arbitrary, but they’re not; they’re four of the most popular names for Millennials: a generation of digital natives born roughly between 1985 and 2004, brought up in a world of technology, beginning to lead our economies. The Millennials are fueling the knowledge workforce and they’re becoming scarce in the Atlantic Provinces.
We have a problem on the East Coast of Canada because we’re losing talent rapidly. If we don’t lose our young talent to the allure of universities, colleges, and jobs outside the region after high school, there’s a high likelihood of losing them upon post-secondary graduation to the dependable economy on the West Coast, the financial powerhouses in Central Canada, and to the oil fields that sit between them. The problem compounds when we realize that attracting our lost talent back is just as difficult as keeping it here in the first place.
We’re coming to realize that our beautiful backyards, as attractive as they are; our Maritime warmth, as cozy as it is; and our comfortable life pace are not enough to attract and retain the talent here. We need jobs. More specifically, we need jobs that meet the desires of the talent we’re manufacturing in schools, and the institutions in our region need the skilled employees to meet their organizational needs. In the knowledge economy like the one we find ourselves a part of, Millennials are able to meet this need, so how do we make this happen?
In 1931, James Truslow Adams wrote that he dreamed of a “land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” It became know as the American Dream and its emphasis on opportunity is what we want to pick up on in New Brunswick.
Our dream is called The Millennial Dream and it’s about converting New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada from an exporter to an importer of Millennials. In order to do this, we’re starting a conversation with this blog. Through written, video, and audio content we want to invite others to engage in the discussion that will tell us who Millennials are, what matters to them, and how we can begin to make Atlantic Canada a Millennial haven: a place where young talent can find and create the work they are passionate about. We need to hear want Millennials are looking for because we’re going to need their help transforming our economy from its current state to the one we envision it to be.
2015 will be an important year for Atlantic Canada. It’s the year we put words to this dream we have for the region. We won’t break free of the deeply rooted issues that prevent us from moving forward tomorrow but we’re placing these thoughts on the table to say, “What are we going to make of this?” Let this be the first step in creating that place talent can and would like to thrive. This is the beginning of the Millennial Dream.
Are you a Millennial? What’s one thing that might make you hesitant about staying in Atlantic Canada? Tweet using the hashtag #themillennialdream and let us know your thoughts. Let’s get the conversation started.