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July 23, 2021

What skills are Canadian employers seeking today?

As Bob Dylan once sang, The times they are a-changin'.

And so are the skill sets that Canadian employers are seeking to fill positions within their companies.

The Conference Board of Canada identified that Ontario alone is losing out on as much as $24.3 billion in economic activity annually because employers can't find suitable candidates with the skills they require to innovate and grow in today's economy.

It has been no secret that Ontario has long suffered a skills gap.

In a survey, the Conference Board found that employers are in need of post-secondary graduates in science, engineering, technology, business and finance. 

They are also looking for candidates with two- or three-year college diplomas (57 per cent); four-year degrees (44 per cent); and trades (41 per cent).

It is not too often today that you can leave high school and step into a high-paying job with employers who are willing to train, mentor or apprentice you -- unlike our mothers and fathers before us.

It is tough competition out there today as your resume sits in the pile with hundreds of others that are glowing with university degrees, college diplomas, and previous related work experience.

CIBC has identified 25 occupations showing signs of skills shortages which, of course, means that these jobs provide gainful employment...that is, if you have the skills to match.

These occupations are:

1. Managers in engineering, architecture, science and information systems

2. Managers in health, education, and social and community services

3. Managers in construction and transportation

4. Auditors, accountants and investment professionals

5. Human resources and business service professionals

6. Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences

7. Physical science professionals

8. Life science professionals

9. Civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers

10. Other engineers

11. Professional occupations in health

12. Physicians, dentists and veterinarians

13. Optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating professionals

14. Pharmacists, dietitians and nutritionists

15. Therapy and assessment professionals

16. Nurse supervisors and registered nurses

17. Technical and related occupations in health

18. Medical technologists and technicians (except dental health)

19. Technical occupations in dental health care

20. Other technical occupations in health care (except dental)

21. Psychologists, social workers, counsellors, clergy and probation officers
22. Supervisors in mining, oil and gas

23. Underground miners, oil and gas drillers, and related workers

24. Supervisors in manufacturing

25. Supervisors in processing occupations

To alleviate the skills gap, the Conference Board recommends in it's study the following: Employers can increase their training and development investments and provide more experiential learning opportunities such as apprenticeships, co-op placements and paid internships; educators can better align programs to the needs of the economy; governments can allocate additional resources for experiential learning opportunities, and collect and share better labour market information; and students can match their own education and training planning to the realities of the labour market.

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

What do you think can be done to alleviate the skills shortage in Canada? Are you finding it hard to acquire a job due to the skills and/or education required?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...