Take action as a business

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The dropout problem has real consequences for the vitality of the Montreal business community and the region’s economy.

Consequences of dropping out | Career aspirations: driving perseverance | How you can take action as a business

Programs that combine education and work in response to the labour shortage

Couverture - Étude pénurie et diplomationWith some 40,000 positions unfilled at the end of 2018, many Montreal employers are suffering severely from the labour shortage. A new study sheds light on this reality and offers feasible guidelines for businesses to both prevent full employment from negatively affecting graduation rates and ensure that the city has the qualified workforce it needs. These include encouraging students to stay in school and fostering work/school balance.

View highlights (French only) | View study (French only)

! Return to this page later. We will be updating it shortly to incorporate the study’s findings.

The dropout issue: it affects businesses too

Labour shortage

According to Statistics Canada, 40,000 positions were unfilled at the end of 2018.

On one hand, the most in-demand jobs are those that require vocational training or a CEGEP or university education.

-> High dropout rates therefore jeopardize efforts to train the workers that Montreal needs to maintain a thriving economy.

On the other hand, current labour shortages make it easier to find well-paying jobs that require little or no qualification. For young people having trouble at school, it can be tempting to drop out in favour of working full time.

However, labour market forecasts indicate that the percentage of low-qualification jobs is likely to decline, in part due to automation, while positions requiring more education will increase.

-> It is therefore vital to encourage young people to stay in school if Montreal is to have the qualified labour force it will need in the years ahead.

Lower performance and competitiveness in the international market

The Montreal market is characterized by the knowledge economy, which is based above all on the availability of qualified personnel.

Québec’s labour department, Emploi-Québec, cites the high dropout rate among factors that compromise the quality of Montreal’s labour force.

It is therefore vital to focus on the success of young people in school to develop the human resources needed for Montreal’s competiveness on the international stage.

Weakened economy and increased pressure on government finances

The economic consequences of of dropping out are considerable.

According to the 2019 study Persévérance scolaire et conciliation études-travail : une piste de solution à la pénurie de main-d’œuvre, the costs associated with the projected 2019–2020 dropout rate in the Island of Montréal’s five school boards include:

  • Lost income of $261.7 million for the dropouts
  • A $72.0 million shortfall in tax revenues for the government
  • A loss of $593 million for Montréal’s economy

(Amounts based on the working lives of the dropouts.)

The dropouts’ lower incomes, reduced tax contributions, and greater use of social services are among the consequences with significant costs for society.

Image de l'infographie sur le coût du décrochage scolaire



View the entire infographic of the costs of dropping out. (French only)



Costs of a 20% drop in re-engagement with school

If the lure of the job market, created by the labour shortage, reduces the number of students re-engaging with school – an important factor in Québec’s graduation rate – the costs of the dropout problem will be even higher.

A 20% decline in students re-engaging with school will result in:

  • A loss of $350.4 million for the dropouts
  • A $92.8 million shortfall in tax revenue for the government


Career aspirations: driving perseverance

Making plans for the future is an excellent way to improve student motivation and help them persevere.

So taking action on educational and career aspirations by helping students learn about different professions and careers can have many positive effects, including:

  • Improving motivation by providing goals
  • Helping students get through periods when they may be tempted to drop out
  • Exposing youth from disadvantaged communities to possibilities they may not have believed open to them


How you can take action as a business

  • Promote work/school balance among working students.
  • Take part in Hooked on School Days.
  • Adopt a school and contribute to projects that encourage kids to stay in school.
  • Help fill the needs of Montreal schools: Mobilys.
  • Inspire youth by speaking about your profession and your experiences:
  • Welcome youth into your business:
  • Encourage your managers and staff to get involved in community organizations:
    • Urge them to join boards of administration and get involved in social entrepreneurship.
    • Urge them to volunteer to support technical, scientific, or artisanal activities related to the interests and aspirations of young people.