Workforce Skills Around the World: Canada

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We have seen in previous blogs how the workforce skills needed in Asia, Europe, and the United States share many important aspects. A new report from another quarter, the province of Ontario in Canada, adds some new perspectives to what some call the global skills gap. Entitled The Cost of Ontario’s Skills Gap, this report by the respected and apolitical Conference Board of Canada stresses "the need to make skills work." The Board's list of employability skills for the modern workforce is especially useful to educators as a guide to what's most important.

Ontario serves as the economic hub of Canada, and apparently its employers find that the wheel of progress is in need of some educational grease. The new report, based on a survey of 1538 employers covering 760,000 workers, finds that:

Skills gaps cost the Ontario economy up to $24.3 billion in forgone GDP—a result of too many Ontarians not obtaining enough education to find employment in today’s economy….Although Ontarians are among the most highly educated in the OECD—with many having obtained post-secondary diplomas and degrees—too few are employed in occupations that utilize the full extent of their education and skills. In some cases, individuals have been educated and trained in areas for which there is little labour market demand. In other cases, individuals may work for employers who are unsure about how to engage the full range of their skills. Altogether, these types of skills mismatches cost Ontario’s economy and workers up to $4.1 billion in foregone GDP and $627 million in provincial tax revenues annually.

What are the skills that these Canadian employers say they need to fill the gap? The list will be familiar to readers of this blog:  ontarioskills

(Scroll down to see a larger version of this chart.)

And what kinds of workers do we need more of to fill the gap?  ontarioprofessions

(Scroll down to see a larger version of this chart.)

The message is clear: Ontario needs high-tech professionals with high-touch skills. Is the same true in your state or province?

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