What are Skills Gaps and How to Boost your Skillset
As the Canadian digital infrastructure broadens, more and more jobs now include technology in one way or another. Even traditional industries are finding a heavy reliance on tech. Technology is constantly changing, meaning working professionals have to upgrade and learn new skills to keep up continually. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that they are, with 35% of Canadian employers feeling challenged with finding skilled workers. This is what is known as a skills gap.
What are skills gaps?
Skills gaps refer to the fundamental discrepancy between job seekers’ skills and the skills employers require. Essentially job seekers don’t have the skills employers are looking for. As a result, job seekers have difficulty landing jobs while employers can’t find talent or compromise on inadequately skilled candidates. But skills gaps go beyond just a simple mismatch. It means labour shortage, reduced productivity, unhappy employees and an overall weakened bottom line for businesses.
Why do skills gaps exist?
A clash between the tech industry and education
Some of the most sought-after skills in the Canadian tech industry include a combination of technical, business and management, and soft and interpersonal skills. Unfortunately, most post-secondary programs and institutions don’t provide a well-rounded education. This creates a disagreement between industry and education putting new graduates behind before they can even start.
Poor on-the-job training
According to a report by Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), skills have a half-life of 2.5 to 5 years. In a couple of years, the skills professionals have today will only be half as valuable. This is all to say that on-the-job training isn’t a one-and-done situation. Employers should implement continuous training and workshops to ensure employees don’t fall behind.
Traditional meets technology
As more and more industries undergo digital overhauls, we can see technology is no longer limited to the IT industry. Embracing technology is the new normal. Even in the most traditional roles like nursing, home support workers or administrative assistants, we see tech taking over. But while it’s great that technology can help businesses thrive, those in traditional roles lack the technical skills and knowledge to see the effects.
Larger companies can access the resources to train their employees, while small business employees are sadly left to fend for themselves. Almost 98% of the Canadian economy consists of small businesses. In other words, most Canadian professionals are being left responsible for filling their skills gap.
Entry-level jobs advancing
Jobs classified as junior or entry-level require higher levels of knowledge in today’s market. With artificial intelligence (AI) and automation permeating businesses of all kinds, newer and more specialized skills are needed even in basic entry-level positions.
Recommendations for bridging skills gaps:
- Have a strong onboarding strategy and provide continuous training and upskilling opportunities for their employees.
- Partner with recruitment agencies to outsource specialized work. This relieves any excess stress and allows current company employees can focus on areas of strength.
- Consider hiring underrepresented populations in the labour force. Many companies often overlook newcomers who might be highly skilled.
- Job seekers should prioritize updating or learning new skills entirely. Education pathways should be selected carefully, and candidates should consider alternative paths such as specialty schools.
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We have a diverse number of clients and industries and focus on both full-time and contract IT opportunities.