Eight Reasons Why Edmonton is the #1 City in Canada for Youth to Work

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Luke Smith
May 29, 2019

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Getting an education, beginning your career, finding the perfect place to live—figuring life out as you are still starting out is daunting. Our society offers options on an unprecedented scale, and choosing where to live and work is one of the most important choices you can make as a youth.

Cognizant of this, YouthfulCities, an organization interested in promoting youthful cities globally, set out to determine the best city for youth (defined as ages 15 – 29) to work in Canada. To do so, they used an objective methodology that measured a host of factors relevant to young people and that coalesced around the four main work themes of Education, Affordability, Entrepreneurship, and Employment.

What did they find?

That Edmonton is the best city for youth to work in Canada for 2019. By their metrics our city finished with 714 points out of a possible 1310, besting Montreal by 6 points, and Ottawa by 16.

There are many reasons why Edmonton graded out so favourably. Here are eight:

1. We Are An Extremely Young City

“Youth population: 21.5%—3rd highest in Canada behind Saskatoon and Yellowknife and tied with St. John’s.”

There may be no better indicator that Edmonton is a great city for youth then the fact that so many have already chosen it as home. Youth are attracted to Edmonton as the place where they will start out because of the great and plentiful educational and professional opportunities, yes, but also because of its young and vibrant nature.

Nearly a quarter of our 1.3 million population are youth, and our median age is only 37.8. In fact, 20 – 39-year olds are the fastest demographic in our city.

2. Our Workers Are Well Paid

“Minimum wage: $15.00/hour.”

Having a high minimum wage sets up young workers for initial success, no matter their occupation. Edmonton has the highest minimum wage in the country (tied with Calgary) at $15/hour, with the youth wage (under 18) still very competitive at $13/hour.

Additionally, Edmonton has a median family income that is +30% higher than the national average.

3. We Are the Most Affordable Major City in Canada

“Edmonton is the most affordable major city to live in all of Canada, besting out other metropolitan cities approaching a population of 1 million.”

Edmonton gives you the best of both worlds between the big city and the smaller, more affordable centres in Canada. Here, you don’t have to choose between the benefits of the two; you can enjoy the perks and the pace of a major metropolitan centre, with the amenities, the activities, the excitement that entails, without blowing your budget on the excessive costs and prices of the other metro areas in Canada. Your money goes further in Edmonton, allowing you a crucial head start on life without the sacrifices required in other cities.

4. Transportation is Cheap & Convenient

“Edmonton has the most affordable transportation in Canada.”

We appreciate that you are always on the go, and Edmonton has the transportation support to accommodate getting you there without gouging you on the way.

Whether through our extensive bus network or our rapidly expanding Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, or in the fact that we were the first city in Canada to allow ride sharing companies like Uber onto our roads, Edmonton provides cheap, easy, proactive options to get around.

Further, you won’t waste your youth away waiting around in traffic. According to GPS provider Tom-Tom’s Traffic Index, Edmonton has the least congested roadways of all cities in Canada, with drivers spending only an average of 19 extra minutes travelling during rush hour periods per day.

5. You Can Get a Top-Notch Education at a Reasonable Price

“Edmonton has the 4th most affordable education.”

Getting a top-notch education to set you up for the next stage of your life shouldn’t be a prohibitive experience, shackling you to unnecessary debt at such a critical juncture. Edmonton is home to many renowned yet affordable institutions, including the University of Alberta, MacEwan University, and the Northern Alberta Institution of Technology (NAIT).

To read more about the advantages of our advanced education system, click here.

6. We Support Entrepreneurs & Job Creation

“Edmonton has a strong economic profile, being 4th in the number of new jobs created per capita in 2018 at 24,700 and finishing 5th overall in the Entrepreneurship theme. This included coming in 3rd for Government Attitude to Entrepreneurship.”

Finding a job as young person light on experience can be daunting. Following your dreams and starting a business even more so. Happily, Edmonton has the support systems in place to encourage and to champion your ideas and your growth along the way.

Check out our organization's business services and programs here.

7. There's Always Something Fun Going On Outside of Work

There's more to life than work, and Edmonton’s excellence as a fun and exciting place to call home may be the best kept secret in Canada. No longer! See why here.

8. A Reputation for Overall Excellence

“In all four themes, Affordability, Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Edmonton has a number of top 10 finishes, making it a well-balanced city for youth in urban work.”

Edmonton is objectively ranked as the best city for youth to work in all of Canada—we’d love for you to come see why! Open and supportive, young and exciting, Edmonton is yours to explore.

Go Deeper

Check out YouthfulCities Urban Work Index to read the full report and take a more in-depth look at why Edmonton holds the title as the #1 city for youth to work in Canada.

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