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Fixing Canada's Talent Disconnect

This topic contains 8 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Sharon Ferriss 4 years ago.

  • Author
  • #32171

    Sharon Ferriss

    In 2013 CERIC hosted a series of roundtable events across Canada to discuss fixing our “talent disconnect,” where individual skills and interests don’t always line up with emerging career options or what regional job markets immediately offer.

    Called “Canada’s Career Imperative,” the goal has been to have a national conversation about how to “develop, connect and retain the best of our talent” to meet the ever-changing needs of disruptive markets. This is a discussion in which business, education and government all have a stake. We’d like to continue this conversation online.

    A total of 178 individuals participated in the roundtables in seven cities: Burlington, Toronto, Calgary, Regina, Montreal, Vancouver and Moncton. Reports on each of the regional roundtables, as well as a national summary report, are available online at Common themes include:

    • Develop a collaborative national workforce strategy that involves employers, educators and government
    • Educators and employers need to come together to connect what students are learning to what is required for future role
    • Improve the disconnect between employers and educators around the requirements of hard and soft skills
    • Demystify entrepreneurship as part of the career education process
    • Teach more effective work search skills in high school and post-secondary
    • Employers need to be more broad-minded in their search criteria and focus on a person’s capacity to learn/relate to others
    • Employers need to lower digital walls and reduce credential bias
    • The culture of career counselling needs to be more reality-based and connected to skills in-demand and market opportunities
    • Lessen information overload on jobseekers – and career professionals have a role to play

    What are your thoughts on what needs to be done to fix Canada’s talent disconnect?


  • #33269

    Sharon Ferriss

    Thought this article in last week’s Toronto Star would be of interest: ‘National dialogue’ around skills gap needed, says Canada’s Employment and Social Development Minister


  • #33284

    Sharon Ferriss

    Lots of discussion around the skills gap in the media this week. The National’s Bottom Line panel tackles youth unemployment and covers schooling, the skills gap and the best ways for young people to get a job.


  • #34037

    Sharon Ferriss

    The Province of Ontario hosted its first Summit on Talent and Skills in the New Economy yesterday where Premier Kathleen Wynne challenged participants to commit to implement one new initiative that will contribute to skills and talent development in the province. She said: “and when you’ve developed it, I invite you to put it on Twitter at hashtag #ONJobs.”


  • #34104

    Sharon Ferriss

    Two new articles that relate to the Talent Disconnect caught my eye this past week.

    The first is from Dr. Rick Miner, president of Seneca College, and the author of the People Without Jobs, Jobs Without People series of reports. He will be issuing a new report, The Great Canadian Skills Mismatch, in a matter of weeks. In this article in the Toronto Star, he talks about how political, business and educational leaders need to play a greater part in helping young people navigate the labour market. One example he gives is that perhaps governments should not be “fully” funding post-secondary programs that have neither a direct link nor pathway to some type of employment.

    In the second article, Daniel Munro from the Conference Board of Canada, asks where employers are in the national skills development discussion. He writes: ” Many employers and commentators expect universities and colleges to produce work-ready graduates, and they criticize students for choosing majors that do not perfectly align with labour market needs. This way of thinking underemphasizes the responsibility that employers themselves have in training a skilled workforce.”

  • #34776

    Sharon Ferriss

    Rick Miner has just published his new report, The Great Canadian Skills Mismatch, a follow up to his earlier People Without Jobs, Jobs Without People series. His findings and recommendations echo many of the comments made during our Canada’s Career Imperative discussions.

    The labour force changes of most significance he noted in his newest report are:

    1. Labour force participation rates for those 55 and older have increased.
    2. New immigration programs, targeting younger immigrants with employable skills, have been established.
    3. Labour force demand projections have decreased.
    4. Canadian educational attainment levels are higher than previously projected.
    5. Retirement benefit provisions are moving eligibility from 65 to 67 years.

    Using this and updated Statistics Canada information, the data show that shortages still exist. He sees projected skills shortages dropping from 4.2 million to 2.3 million unfilled positions by 2031 due to increased educational attainment levels, but that we’ll still have a major problem.

    Miner says that to address these shortages we need more workers and we need them to have the right skill sets. According to his report, to get the right skill matches, we need to make a number of significant changes, including:

    • Drastically improving our labour market information (LMI) systems.
    • Developing a national education and training strategy.
    • Establishing “mandatory” career counselling opportunities for students, their parents, teachers and administrators.
    • Investing in basic literacy and employability skills training.
    • Implementing a variety of changes to our post-secondary system to make it more accessible, flexible, responsive, relevant and affordable.

    Here is a link to the pdf of the report:

  • #35683

    Sharon Ferriss

    A new report urges Ottawa to work with the provinces and industry to put a stop to what it calls an alarming slide in the quality of Canada’s education and skills training.

    The Canadian Council of Chief Executives-commissioned paper is being released ahead of this week’s meeting of Canada’s provincial education and labour ministers and industry representatives in Charlottetown.

    The report says only the federal government can lead and create a national education and skills training strategy.

    Read more at:

  • #37248

    Sharon Ferriss

    This Fast Company article makes the case for the “Educonomy,” which would seamlessly integrate the educational system,  employers and job creators.

    “Nothing will fix our economy more fundamentally than new business creation. And we won’t get the new great American economic engine humming again until we build strong linkages among educators, employers, and entrepreneurs. Right now, we’re more likely to see kids with entrepreneurial talent diagnosed as underperforming troublemakers than we are to recognize them as the next Mark Zuckerberg.”


  • #38272

    Sharon Ferriss

    The skills gap conversation continues throughout our country with a trio of new reports this month.

    A new report from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, A Battle We Can’t Afford to Lose: Getting Young Canadians from Education to Employment, argues that to close the skills gap, we should focus on moving youth from education to employment and recommends a focus on the following:

    1. labour market information;
    2. career decision-making;
    3. and work-integrated learning.

    Read more:

    Another report Better Work: The path to good jobs is through employers, by Metcalf Innovation Fellow and labour market policy expert Tom Zizys, examines our under-performing labour market and challenges the popular notion that the threat to good jobs is inevitable.

    The report calls for a co-ordinated three-dimensional approach that includes:

    1) strategies that assist individual employers to overcome barriers to training in their workplaces;
    2) strategies that enhance the capacity of labour market intermediaries to better promote, refine, and deliver workforce
    development on a broader, more effective and efficient scale, and that focus on demand-side approaches; and
    3) strategies that advance norms and values that make it more likely that employers will undertake workplace training and view
    employees as an asset meriting investment, not as a cost to be constrained

    Read more:

    A new report from Toronto Region Board of Trade and United Way Toronto finds many Toronto region residents could be left behind, despite 520,000 job openings over the next five years. The report, Closing the Prosperity Gap, highlights the emerging paradox of workers who should benefit from an increase in jobs opportunities due to retirement and economic growth, but could continue to face barriers to accessing these jobs.

    The report outlines three challenges and a variety of solutions. The challenges include:
    1) A rise in non-standard employment
    2) A growing gap between neighbourhoods
    3) Youth and newcomer underemployment and unemployment

    Read more:


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