Sep 10, 2019

Skills mismatch set to worsen: report

Issues include literacy, numeracy, problem-solving

The issue of workplace skills mismatches is real — and set to worsen in the face of technological changes and aging demographics, according to a report from the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto.

Thirteen per cent of Canadian employees have too many, or too few skills for their current jobs, in terms of literacy, numeracy and problem-solving, according to Bad Fits: The Causes, Extent and Costs of Job Skills Mismatch in Canada.

Significant variations are revealed across socioeconomic groups, says author Parisa Mahboubi.

While workers with more education are more likely to be over-skilled, women, immigrants and older workers are more prone to be under-skilled for their jobs. However, immigrants’ skills grow with time spent in Canada, she says.

“Development of skills enhances productivity and helps individuals to succeed in the labour market,” says Mahboubi.

Skills mismatch in terms of either overskilling or underskilling can have serious consequences on the economy’s performance and productivity, she says.

“Persistent skills mismatch that reflects inefficiency in the labour market can be costly for employers, workers and society, and needs to be addressed.”

It’s up to government and business to tackle this issue, according to the report, which urges employers to provide training opportunities for workers while pushing governments to champion policies that enhance labour market flexibility, ease labour mobility and increase participation in lifelong learning — particularly among older workers and immigrants.

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