(II)The Great Canadian Skills Mismatch: People Without Jobs, Jobs Without People and MORE

Rick Miner, Ph.D.
March 2014

Excerpt from Executive Summary: 
According to David Foot and Daniel Stoffman, two
internationally renowned demographers,
“Demographics explain about two-thirds of
everything.” (1996, page 2). Yet, in the case of
Canada’s labour market future, one might
reasonably push that estimate into the 80th
percentile. The 2010 and 2012 reports published
by Miner, in the People Without Jobs, Jobs Without
People series, investigated the impact of the baby
boomer generation exiting the workforce resulting
in significant labour force shortages for Canada.
Since the publication of these reports almost four
years ago, a number of dramatic shifts have
occurred that warrant a re-analysis of the earlier
findings. The changes of most significance are:
- Labour force participation rates for those 55 and
older have increased.
- A number of new immigration programs, targeting
younger immigrants with employable skills, have
been established.
- Labour force demand projections have
decreased.
- Canadian educational attainment levels are
higher than previously projected.
- Retirement benefit provisions are moving
eligibility from 65 to 67 years.
Using this and updated Statistics Canada
information, the data show that shortages still exist
and are far from trivial. Rather than needing an
additional 2.7 million workers by 2031, the shortage
is now forecasted to be a little less than 2 million.
Similarly, projected skills shortages drop
significantly from 4.2 million to 2.3 million because
of increased educational attainment levels, but a
major problem will still exist.
To address these shortages we need more workers
and we need them to have the right skill sets. To
increase the size of our work force, it is best to look
for employment growth opportunities among those
who have historically been under represented in
the work force. These are immigrants, aboriginals,
persons with disabilities, women, youth and older
workers. Yet, we must be cognizant of the fact that
these skill increases need to correspond to areas
where skill shortages exist, and not to areas where
there are surpluses. Earlier, it was assumed that
simply having an educational attainment level
beyond high school would be sufficient to meet
employers' skill requirements. This assumption
was far too simplistic, and a simple increase in
educational attainment will not automatically
resolve the skills mismatch problems that do and
will exist.

To read the full executive summary and report, please see the attachment below.