Nearly a third of Canadian businesses say they’re having difficulty finding workers with the skills they need. According to a new report by CIBC World Markets, that’s double the percentage that said the same in 2010.
“This problem is growing,” said Bejamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets. He and I spoke Monday. Tal explained that the discrepancy between what employers need and what job hunters have to offer hurts both groups. “It’s not just the number of people who cannot find a job because they don’t have the skills. It’s also the number of companies that cannot find people because they don’t have the skill set. There are two sides to this story.”
The figures behind that story are remarkable. The report features a list of 25 professions in which salaries are rising quickly and unemployment is either low or on the way down. These fields make up about 21% of total employment across the country. The unemployment rate in these professions is only about 1%. And salaries are increasing about 4% per year on average, better than double the national rate.
By contrast, there are 20 professions that the report recommends you avoid. Take this group out of the mix and our national unemployment rate would fall to around 6%.
The message is clear: choose your career path wisely. Whether you’re preparing to enter the workforce for the first time or considering a new career, don’t wait for opportunity to knock. Make informed choices.
Easier said than done though, right? “It is very difficult to predict what the hot sectors will be 10 years from now,” Tal told me. “And not everyone can get into those fields. Take nursing. People choose to be nurses because they love it, not because they’re forced into it.”
So there is a role here for educators and employers. “Assuming this decision-making process — especially among young people — is not optimal, a retraining mechanism should be in place,” said Tal. “Focus on where the demand is and try to increase training in universities and colleges towards that. And provide training for older people. On-the-job training is the responsibility of companies.”
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