Skills held by new graduates and workers hitting the job market often don’t match the skills employers need and that is exacerbating labour shortages across 14 critical sectors that rely on highly-skilled technology workers, according to the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists.
At the organization’s National Technology Conference held last week in Winnipeg, employers, educators, government officials and industry observers came together to try to tackle the issue and others.
“The skills mismatch means we’re constantly being questioned by employers looking for the next worker – the worker with the right skill set,” says Isidore LeBlond, chief executive of CCTT. “We want to make sure we’re teaching the right (skills),” he adds.
Perrin Beatty, president and chief executive of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, notes in a recent Conference Board of Canada report that federal changes to immigration policy are “encouraging” for employers, adding pre-arrival credential assessments are also a good step.
Canada imported more than 5.2 per cent of its population in a single decade as businesses tapped into the global workforce and programs such as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
“A deepening shortfall of skilled workers and the growing mismatch between the skills needed and those available has evolved into a skills crisis,” he writes. “The Canadian economy faces a deep structural problem.” LeBlond also attributes part of the skills mismatch – and the resulting shortage of labour – to workers and employers who haven’t been keeping pace with technological changes by pursuing lifelong learning.
“(Workers’) skills are slowly evaporating and they’re not as useful to their employer as maybe they would like,” he says, referring to this group of the “substandard worker.”
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