Randstad Canada HR Blog

PM Stephen Harper 'eager to tackle skills mismatch in Canada'

Posted by Jan Hein Bax on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

Prime minister Stephen Harper is reportedly eager to tackle the ongoing crisis of skills mismatch in Canada. Taking measures to improve education and training programs could be the key to unlocking potential in jobseekers and enhancing the employment market.

Statistics Canada data shows that unemployment remained stubbornly high at seven per cent in February, but it seems that it is not a lack of opportunities that is responsible. Businesses are apparently eager to expand their workforce, but are unable to find suitable candidates.

Over $2 billion in government funds have been allocated to provinces with the aim of expanding unemployed residents' skill sets, but the results have not been significant, and the prime minister may be seeking alternative methods.

An alleged Conservative insider told CBC News: "[Harper is] frustrated. We're spending all that money and not seeing the matching result at the end. We’re hearing about it from business leaders across the country."

The CD Howe Institute has already highlighted the need for better training programs in the country, claiming that helping jobseekers to gain new skills required by employers in the nation is "the best way to further support the Canadian labor market".

Official figures show that 13.6 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds are out of work, so prioritising aid for young jobseekers could be key to ensuring improvements in the current market and in the long term.

The not-for-profit organization believes that redirecting some of this generation from higher education and into alternative, vocational pathways through the provision of additional information and guidance could help to combat the difficulties faced by a number of employers.

The Conservative politician reflected this same sentiment, saying that "there’s a general feeling there are too many kids getting BAs and not enough welders". Mr Harper may therefore look at ways to promote alternative, and perhaps more suitable, courses to youngsters.

Targeting health care, skilled construction and ICT skills should be top of the list, as CBC News claims that these sectors are being impacted most significantly by skills mismatch.

Posted by Kate Griffin