Canadian Skills Required by 2015

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Over 40% of people in the Canadian workforce have either a university or college qualification. Canada is known around the world for producing a qualified educated workforce. However, companies still often complain about a shortage of skilled labor and unfortunately Canada still struggles to find jobs for unemployed university and college graduates.

So, this shows a disconnect between the skills the country needs and the skills its colleges and universities produce. Moreover, some available information indicates that this is likely to get worse if not addressed as a priority in our colleges and universities.

It may be useful to use a comparison between the current most popular qualifications and the projections of what skills the country's economy will need in 2015.

Skills required by the Canadian economy in 2015:

  • Information technology (IT) has been one of the fastest growing fields for years and will remain so up to and past 2015. Canada is indeed fortunate in this area, as it is already one of the top fields in which students currently qualify. The broad category of IT includes systems analysts, web developers, information managers, software programmers and many others. One needed skill in the IT field that is currently not being produced in sufficient quantity is hardware engineering, which is needed for technological infrastructure installation and repair, satellite and cabling.

  • The healthcare sector is also projected to grow, since most people are now living to an older age and requiring more healthcare in the last few years of their lives. Canada still produces many highly skilled health care professionals.

  • Canada is also not currently producing anything near the number of scientists that it will need in 2015. Canada is lagging behind in the development of our future scientists, especially in the bio sciences and energy technology which are two of the strongest growing scientific fields.

  • Canada will also need a skilled labour force for the hard skills. Especially when it comes to dealing with manufacturing, construction and natural resources (which promises nothing good for Canada’s oil and gas industry). The highest demand has for many years been, and will continue to be, for steel and iron trades, welders, heavy equipment operators, industrial mechanics, and industrial electricians. Even worse, the overwhelming majority of the country’s skilled traders are already above the age of 40. So if the existing skills in an area of a skills-shortage are mostly provided by people who will retire soon, young people can really set a market for themselves if they get into this field.

Canada may be heading towards a skills shortage in several areas. Our post-secondary institutions and trade schools would be wise to start to market these types of careers and give a skill set which will be considered an asset in years to come.