In our last post, we noted that HireUp is looking at its relationship with jobseekers so that the platform may better serve them. One of the most important aspects of our assessment has been looking at the barriers jobseekers most frequently face. 

There is a long list of reasons someone may be having difficulties in accessing or maintaining employment. These barriers can be created by outside forces out of one’s control, such as being discriminated against based on one’s race or ethnicity. In order to equip jobseekers with the tools to transcend these barriers, we need to have a better understanding of the issues they actually face.  

Who uses HireUp?

In our analysis we looked at who was using the site and what barriers these users reported facing. 

Here is what we found:

  • Approximately 56% of users were born between 1996 and 2005
  • More than 50% of users identify as women
  • Most users face more than one barrier to employment
  • The biggest barriers HireUp jobseekers face are lack of relevant experience, age-based discrimination, and credential recognition challenges


The strong majority of HireUp users are between the ages of 23 and 14. This age group is often referred to as “youth”. It is important to acknowledge this group’s use of HireUp, as those who identify as “youth” often face more barriers to employment than some older jobseekers. 


In a study about youth employment barriers by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence and the McCreary Centre Society, young women were more likely to face more than one barrier to finding employment. As a large number of our users are young women, it is important to note the multi-faceted issues they face so that a multidimensional solution can be found. 

Barriers to Employment: Recognition

This study, and our own data, also show that a large barrier to youth looking for employment is credential recognition challenges. This barrier is also a particularly common issue among women. There is often a lack of recognition employers give to skills that jobseekers may have acquired from non-traditional sources. For example, having self-taught skills in engine repair could lead to a good career in mechanics. However, because they are self-taught and not studied through a formal program, the knowledge is not taken as valid or usable. 

Barriers to Employment: Hidden Costs

There is also the issue of job-related training and courses. It can be a challenge to attend these mandatory sessions, and they can become very costly if you have to pay out of pocket for transportation or for the course itself. On top of it, jobseekers may be unable to prove they have even completed the training if they do not have a copy of their certificates. 

Barriers to Employment: Retention

For those youth who do find jobs, there is the issue of job retention. Many youth face the issue of employers assuming that they know how to utilize technology and modern resources rather than providing the practical and necessary support that is needed to become an efficient and dependable worker. 

Youth who have reported positive experiences in maintaining their employment have cited that having supportive, understanding, and patient supervisors are to thank for their continued advancements. This information is particularly valuable to HireUp and its partners, as it gives both employers and community support groups an idea of what tools to provide youth with so that they can be propped up for success in their jobs.