Debates about the skills Canadians need to compete in the 21st Century run rampant, and so a series of reports that puts a spotlight on the key issues impacting the future of work and skills in Canada is being released to the public. Through Skills Next, a joint initiative between Future Skills Centre and Public Policy Forum, along with Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute in its role as a research lead for the Future Skills Centre, eight reports will be published over two weeks beginning January 20.  

The series draws from an expansive and highly diverse network of researchers and experts. Each report focuses on one issue to provide a comprehensive review on the topic, designed to illuminate the research landscape and current state of knowledge, providing a better understanding of what we know on each topic, and identifies areas in need of additional research. It is intended to help support further research and strengthen policymaking. 

“We need to equip Canadians with the knowledge, tools, and supports that will help navigate the changing nature of work. This series will help us gain a better understanding of what we already know about work and skills and, perhaps more importantly, what key questions and challenges we need to keep in mind and address as our labour market continues to change.” – Pedro Barata, Executive Director, Future Skills Centre

The Skills Next reports are made available for policymakers, researchers, and the wider public to spark further collaborations and inspire more independent research. The first set of eight reports will be published over two weeks beginning January 20 on the Future Skills Centre website at and the Public Policy Forum website at 

Key takeaways from these Skills Next reports include:

  1. The mismatch between over-qualified workers and employers inability to find qualified candidates. Current data suggests one-third of Canadians hold a qualification higher than what’s required for their job, and 35% of employers report difficulty finding skilled workers.
  2. How could skills training contribute to understanding key economic challenges? Canada, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) at large, are trying to understand key challenges to economic growth and some nations are looking to skills training for an answer. 
  • Labour productivity growth in the OECD has halved in the last 20 years, relative to the period before that. 
  • Studies tend to focus on the jobs at risk of being lost to automation, with projections varying widely from 6%-59%. To get clearer answers, new approaches to research may be required.
  1. What’s Next? Canada needs more research and data — for which Skills Next lays the foundation — to understand what in Canada needs a fix: Is it a skills shortage, labour shortage, or skills mismatch? And how do we fix it in an inclusive and equitable way?

The first reports in the series are:

  • Thinking Twice About Technology and the Future of Work by Jim Stanford
  • Solving the Skills Puzzle: The Missing Piece is Good Information by Emna Braham and Steven Tobin
  • Bridging the Digital Skills Gap: Alternative Pathways by Denise Shortt, Brian Robson and Magdalena Sabat
  • Understanding the Future of Skills: Trends and Global Policy Responses by Sunil Johal and Michael Crawford Urban

Four more reports will be released the week of January 27 exploring topics like the graduate skills gap, the role of industry leadership in skills training, barriers to employment for people with disabilities, and barriers to employment for immigrants and racialized Canadians. Additional papers will be released in spring 2020. 

Source: Cision News Wire