Toronto ranked best economy for young by Citi Foundation

(Photo: Creative Commons/Joe deSousa) (Photo: Creative Commons/Joe deSousa)

Christina McAllister
Senior Reporter

Toronto is the number one economy for young people, according to a study published by Citi Foundation.

The study surveyed 35 international cities and ranked them in terms of young people’s economic prospects, government support and entrepreneurship. Toronto came out on top.

Citi Foundation, a New York-based financial institution, commissioned the report entitled Accelerating Pathways, led by their Economist Intelligence Unit.

The study found, out of 35 cities, Toronto ranked highest in most of the categories including ease of opening a business and young people’s economic prospects.

Twenty-seven-year-old entrepreneur and former CMO of ContactMonkey, Alex Smith, said his first step toward a successful career was moving to Toronto.

“Nothing beats the opportunity to meet with targeted people quickly. By targeted people, I’m referring to mentors, partners, consultants, advisers, investors, and possibly even customers. Toronto is great for that,” said Smith. “The downtown core is so dense with professionals that it becomes much easier to get a piece of someone’s day”.

According to Citi Foundation, young people are increasingly mobile and relocate to cities based on economic opportunities.

Smith also said while Toronto’s professional community is large, it is very close-knit.

“It’s very probable that you will be able to find someone that needs your particular skill-set or vision and vice-versa,” he said.

“So many young professionals just like me are looking to bring value to the world and they are not waiting for someone else to do it for them. They are going and producing it themselves, and quickly. It’s amazing to be part of a culture of young people that are not at all satisfied by the status quo,” said Smith.

The purpose of the study was to spark a conversation “among business and municipal leaders about what works, what doesn’t and what can be done differently to leverage the power of youth in cities,” said the report.

Humber College career resource developer Allison Scully said she agrees Toronto is the best in terms of youth employability.

Scully attributes youth employability to the programs available to post-secondary students.

“There is a big push for companies to work with post-secondary schools … There is a big push for partnerships, companies are working directly with institutions to partner up and build that relationship to get youth [hired],” she said.

Scully also said Toronto is a great environment for young people looking for success because there are a lot of investors and opportunities available.

“Youth are kind of seen as having innovation and having the computer skills, they have fresh blood to come in and help a company get in line with the technological side of things,” she said.

Scully also said companies want to hire diverse employees and it doesn’t get much more diverse than Toronto.

Although Scully agrees the top spot belongs to Toronto, she remarked youth are still being underpaid for entry-level jobs.

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