Canada’s skills gap is no fairy tale

posted on April 7, 2014

By Stephen Cryne, Ottawa Citizen | Link to Article

By Stephen Cryne, Ottawa Citizen | Link to Article

The federal government’s budget last month, and the accompanying Jobs Report, has been the target of much criticism of late. Some of that may be well founded in attacking the reliability of sources used by the Department of Finance in calculating the job vacancy rates on a national level. However, it would be equally faulty to suggest that if the vacancy rate trotted out by the Department of Finance is flawed, then the skills gap in this country must also be a fairy tale.

Taking a closer look at key insights behind Canada’s labour market reveals a complex situation. There are important factors driving long-term labour market trends that have been masked by the 2009 recession.

Canada’s population is aging, and many skilled workers will be leaving the workforce. According to Hays PLC, Canada’s population of workers under age 35 is 18 per cent compare to the global average of 33 per cent. Statistics Canada, along with several other government departments and demographic forecasters predict that all growth in Canada’s workforce over the next decade will come about from immigration.

The world of work is changing. Modern economies are rapidly changing, demanding new skills for the new economy. Canada will be competing with other countries for those same skills on a global basis.

Citing several foreign government sources as well as Statistics Canada, the federal government found that since 2006, job creation in Canada has outperformed those of other G7 countries, almost two per cent more than Germany. There are one million more Canadians working today than in 2009.

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