Report

Digital Skills Gap in Canada – There is little common understanding of the actual skills or knowledge that contribute to the skills gap

Digital skills are increasingly in demand across many industries. Recent industry reports argue that a shortage of people in the workforce skilled in information and communications technology (ICT) is inhibiting the growth of innovative companies around the world. Some argue that in Canada, this global challenge is exacerbated by Canadian firms’ historically tendency to adopt new technologies at a slower than average speed—a hesitancy which many argue is itself the result of previous shortages of skilled technology workers.

While the origins and extent of the“digital skills gap” may be the source of some disagreement, this paper argues that the existence of this gap is real, provided a gap is understood as alack of candidates with the skills required by particular employers. Critically, however, its causes may be more complex than are commonly understood. For example, the under-employment of skilled immigrants and under-representation of women and other groups in the ICT industry suggests that recruitment and retention policies and practices of the very firms complaining about this gap may be contributing to the problem.
While there are multiple pathways to “digital careers”, accessing them requires innovation in skills development and in approaches to defining these roles.Yet a review of the most relevant digital skills frameworks shows that there is little common understanding of the actual skills or knowledge that contribute to the skills gap; little common understanding of the dimensions of learning and training needed to improve it; muddled distinctions between areas of knowledge, competencies, skills,and tools needed for 21st-century learning or work; and very little identification of skill levels.

In Canada, the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system provides standardized language to describe occupations in the Canadian labour market. But in this classification system, as in others, there is often confusion between a job, the skills and competencies needed to perform the job,and the specific tools and techniques needed for the job. Moreover, the NOC’s usefulness is also somewhat limited in the context of digital skills, as it has not kept pace with the emergence of technology-based occupations, such as cloud engineer, nor has it developed a clear way of including hybrid roles.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Bridging the Digital Skills Gap: Alternative Pathways | Future Skills Centre • Centre des Compétences futures

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