Shifting Labour Market Requires Flexibility Among Employers And Employees

Ottawa, March 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ottawa, March 16, 2021 – Research from The Conference Board of Canada , in partnership with the Future Skills Centre , has found that employers and employees need a high degree of flexibility in today’s rapidly changing labour market.

Specifically, when using a skills perspective, job seekers may have more options available to them than they realize. At the same time, when hiring, employers can expand their pool of candidates by focusing on the skills required for vacant roles rather than on traditional roles and specific educational or experience requirements.

The Conference Board of Canada identified potential career transitions for Canadian workers using two criteria: viability and desirability. A viable job transition has similar skills, abilities, knowledge, experience, and educational credentials. A desirable one pays similar or higher wages and has prospects for employment growth.

Roles with the most viable and desirable transitions include jobs in knowledge industries that require a university education and social and emotional skills such as active listening. Another group with many transitions includes technical roles that require versatile operational skills like quality-control analysis and operations monitoring.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the labour market in Canada and forced an unprecedented number of people to seek new employment opportunities,” says Michael Burt, Vice President of The Conference Board of Canada. “In many situations, Canadians are being forced to broaden their skills and abilities to find new work, and, in some cases, transition into an entirely new career.”

The Conference Board of Canada research found that it is particularly difficult to transition from entry and mid-level jobs when changing roles. It can be hard to jump from one type of role to another – from a skilled trade to a management position, for example. However, sales and service occupations are the main bridge between professional and manual or technical roles.

“We know that the pandemic has had a profound impact on the Canadian job market. This report highlights areas of opportunity for jobseekers and provides reassurance to workers that they can apply their current skills to other career possibilities,” says Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough. “Our government’s investment in Future Skills is helping Canadians get the information they need to make informed and timely decisions about their future. This project is an example of how we are achieving that goal.”

The Conference Board also found that some occupations have few or no viable and desirable transitions. These occupations tend to be either high-paying or highly specialized. In this situation, job seekers may need to do one or more of the following to make a change: undertake some level of retraining, use skills they currently have but that are not required for their current role, and/or take a sizable pay cut.

“Canada’s labour force is experiencing change at a rapid pace which will mean increasing demands for more flexibility in how we approach career paths,” says Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre. “In this context, we will need new, more responsive approaches to successfully support workers and employers to navigate this reality.”

About The Conference Board of Canada

The Conference Board of Canada is the country’s leading independent research organization. Our mission is to empower and inspire leaders to build a stronger future for all Canadians through our trusted research and unparalleled connections. Follow The Conference Board of Canada on Twitter @ConfBoardofCda

About the Future Skills Centre

Future Skills Centre is a forward-thinking research and collaboration hub dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success and meeting the emerging talent needs of employers. As a pan-Canadian community, FSC brings together experts and organizations across sectors to rigorously identify, assess, and share innovative approaches to develop the skills needed to drive prosperity and inclusion. FSC is directly involved in innovation through investments in pilot projects and academic research on the future of work and skills in Canada. The Future Skills Centre is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.

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