Canada well-positioned to resolve skills shortages challenge

Has framework to feed candidate pipeline: Report
||Last Updated: 11/29/2012

Canada is suffering from chronic skills shortages that will simultaneously drive up job vacancies and unemployment if left unchecked, according to a report.

But the country also has the necessary framework to create the next generation of talent and successfully feed the candidate pipeline and bring down unemployment, said the report from recruitment consultancy Hays and Oxford Economics.

“The skills shortage is unfortunately a fact of life for many employers but Canada has the fundamentals in place to relieve the pressure in the medium term. Our path to success relies on our will to get it done,” said Rowan O’Grady, president of Hays Canada. “It will take genuine collaboration between business leaders, academics and the government to push for a change in how we collectively approach our labour challenges.”

The report reviewed data from 27 countries and measured several key indicators that determine a country’s skill shortages including the strength and resilience of its economy, labour market health, the quality and flexibility of education, and the demand and supply of labour (particularly in high-skills industries and occupations).

Despite a serious talent mismatch, in many of these areas Canada is either stable, or has a favourable environment for reform, said The Hays Global Skills Index 2012 - Critical Skills Imbalances: A Barometer of Factors Impacting Global Skills Mobility.

Canada scored 5.6 on a 10-point scale. A score above five suggests employers are witnessing difficulties finding the key skills they need and are suffering market friction, while a score below five indicates a lax labour market in which there are no major constraints on the supply of skilled labour.

A breakdown of each key indicator for Canada:

•Talent mismatch: Eight — unemployment and vacancies both dramatically on the rise, available workforce is incompatible with current skills shortage.

•Education flexibility: 5.6 — Canada has an education system that can adapt to meet organizations’ future talent needs, particularly in the fields of mathematics, science and literacy.

•Labour market participation: 5.5 — Canada’s talent pool is fully utilized.

•Overall wage pressure: 5.3 — wages are generally keeping pace with inflation.

•Labour market flexibility: 3.5 — labour market legislation is flexible and open to immigration.

•Wage pressure in high-skills occupations: 4.8 — wages in high-skills occupations aren’t rising faster than in low-skills occupations.

•Wage pressure in high-skills industries: 6.5 — wages in high-skills industries are rising much faster than in low-skills industries.

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