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Young people consider artificial intelligence a threat to future employment: Centennial College/CivicAction survey

Millennials are optimistic they can adapt

Toronto, March 18, 2019 — Add artificial intelligence to the growing list of millennial challenges, along with rising rents and a changing climate. The majority (85 per cent) of young people aged 18 to 34 believe artificial intelligence (A.I.) will be a threat to the job market within the next 10 years, and 25 per cent believe it’s already an issue. This according to a new survey of more than 1,500 Canadians, conducted by Maru/Matchbox on behalf of Centennial College post-graduate public relations students in partnership with CivicAction, a non-profit organization that creates collective action on big urban challenges.

The survey explored how young people feel about the changing landscape of work and which institutions are taking steps to best prepare for it. The results will be presented tonight at Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre, as students host a CivicDish event, an evening of dinner and discussion.

“Understanding how young people feel about the future of work isn’t a nice to have, it’s a need to know,” says Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction. “Millennials make up the largest percentage of Canada’s workforce at 37 per cent and are already shaping our workforce’s relationship with technology and automation.”

The survey showed a relative optimism in millennials’ ability to adapt to the changing work landscape:

  • Even with the impending threat of A.I. to the future job market, young people are still relatively optimistic, with 71 per cent of respondents believing they will be able to make a good living throughout the course of their career.
  • Only one-third of young people believe that in 10 years they’ll be working at jobs that haven’t been invented.
  • 37 per cent of young people view a shift away from stable full-time work as a positive change, compared to 28 per cent of people aged 35-54 and 21 per cent of people aged 55+.
  • Approximately three in five young people are confident corporations (60 per cent) and post-secondary institutions (61 per cent) are taking steps to prepare for the changing landscape of work. Millennials are less confident (38 per cent) that government is doing likewise.
  • The top three things young people believe are negatively affecting their employment opportunities: the competitive labour market (60 per cent); changing skillset requirements (55 per cent); and lack of personal network (53 per cent).

“As students who are just about to enter the job market, these results confirm our own experiences and feelings about the impact of automation on our future employment,” says Mary Davidson, one of five public relations students at Centennial College working on the ‘Generation Uncertain’ campaign, created and executed by students for their Storyworks course that has them working with real clients on real issues. “Our generation is concerned about how employment is changing, yet optimistic in our ability to adapt.”


About CivicDish

CivicAction is calling on all residents to serve up a new vision for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton region as part of CivicDish and share their ideas on how to tackle affordable housing, prepare for the future of work, and unlock inclusive leadership. CivicDish is chance for residents to have their ideas included in discussions at next month’s Canvas, CivicAction’s 2019 Summit, and inform CivicAction’s next action plan.


About the Survey

On March 11, 2019, Maru/Matchbox conducted an online survey among 1,510 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists. The margin of error on a probability sample of this size is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the adult population of Canada.


About Centennial College and the Story Arts Centre

Established in 1966, Centennial College is Ontario’s first public college, primarily serving the eastern portion of the GTA through five campuses. It has a record of exemplary teaching, innovative programming and partnership building. With a full-time enrolment of 22,000 students, Centennial is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse post-secondary institutions in Canada.

The Story Arts Centre is home to Centennial’s School of Communications, Media, Arts and Design, offering programs such as public relations and corporate communications, advertising, journalism, broadcasting and film, animation, art and design, and performance programs such as music and dance.


About CivicAction

CivicAction is a premier civic engagement organization that brings together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle challenges facing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. CivicAction builds partnerships and takes action through campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region. For more information, visit or follow CivicAction on Twitter @CivicActionGTHA.


A video with interviews of millennials supporting the survey is available at  (video file available upon request). For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Mary Davidson
Student participant, Centennial College
Tel: (289) 383-4450

Jeff Junke
Tel: (416) 309-4480 x 533
Cell: (647) 471-9957

Donna Lindell
Faculty, Centennial College
Tel: 416-289-5000 ext. 8738
Cell: (416) 778-8844

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