'Educators, employers and policymakers will need to recognize the transferability of skills'
While a large number of Canadian workers may be at risk of losing their jobs to automation, one million of them possess three of the five key skills that will be required for different jobs in the health-care sector, says a new RBC report.
These vulnerable workers possess key skills that will be especially important in the health-care sector.
Many Canadians in at-risk jobs have at least three of five key skills that will be especially important for the health-care jobs of the 2020s: speaking, active listening, service orientation, social perceptiveness and monitoring, says Paging Dr. Data: How the coming skills revolution can transform healthcare.
The report estimates about 330,000 jobs in the sector will require these competencies.
“With the right training, many impacted Canadians are well-positioned to cross into the health-care field, especially those with a combination of social and digital skills,” says John Stackhouse, senior vice-president at RBC.
“However, educators, employers and policymakers will need to recognize the transferability of skills, and to provide opportunities to help bridge any skills gaps.”
Changes to health care
While the health-care sector also stands to lose some jobs to automation, certain jobs are secure because the “profoundly human nature of [their] work” better insulates them, says RBC. Seventeen per cent of jobs in health care are at risk of automation compared to 34 per cent in the overall economy, says the study.
“Technology will replace some work, including in administration and lab diagnostics, where it could give a welcome efficiency boost to a sector facing increasing demands. But we don’t expect a robot to deliver a cancer diagnosis or replace hands-on homecare anytime soon,”
Technological advancement is also creating more jobs in the health-care sector; for example, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have strong potential to predict disease. But medical practitioners would need to understand the underlying algorithms, says RBC.
There’s an urgency to address the skills gap in health care, says the report, as the aging population will see job growth in health care continue to exceed that of the overall Canadian economy, with 370,000 new jobs by 2025, according to Employment and Social Development Canada.
To help health-care workers “thrive in the new world of work,” the report recommends several initiatives including the creation of more work-integrated-learning opportunities in health care for workers in non-health disciplines, to inject new ideas and ways of working into the sector.