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Employers, staff should focus on ‘human’ skills: report

March 27, 2018  By Ground Water Canada

Toronto – Being “human” will ensure resiliency in an era of technological disruption, and skills mobility will become a new competitive advantage, says a new research paper from RBC.

Half of Canadian jobs will be disrupted by automation in the next 10 years, according to a report called “Humans Wanted – How Canadian youth can thrive in the age of disruption.” As a result of this disruption, a group the report calls “Canada’s Gen Mobile” – young people who are currently transitioning from education to employment – is unprepared for the rapidly changing workplace, RBC said in a news release.

With four million Canadian youth entering the workforce over the next decade, and the shift from a jobs economy to a skills economy, the research indicates young people will need a portfolio of “human skills” to remain competitive and resilient in the labour market.


“Canada is at a historic cross-roads – we have the largest generation of young people coming into the workforce at the very same time technology is starting to impact most jobs in the country,” said Dave McKay, president and chief executive officer of RBC.

“There is a changing demand for skills,” said John Stackhouse, senior vice-president. “According to our findings, if employers and the next generation of employees focus on foundational ‘human skills,’ they’ll be better able to navigate a new age of career mobility as technology continues to reshape every aspect of the world around us.”

Key findings:

  • Canada’s economy is on target to add 2.4 million jobs over the next four years, virtually all of which will require a different mix of skills.
  • A growing demand for “human skills” will grow across all job sectors and include critical thinking, co-ordination, social perceptiveness, active listening and complex problem solving.
  • Rather than a nation of coders, digital literacy – the ability to understand digital items, digital technologies or the internet fluently – will be necessary for all new jobs.
  • Canada’s education system, training programs and labour market initiatives are inadequately designed to help Canadian youth navigate the new skills economy, resulting in roughly half a million 15- to 29-year-olds who are unemployed and another quarter of a million who are working part-time involuntarily.
  • Canadian employers are generally not prepared, through hiring, training or retraining, to recruit and develop the skills needed to ensure their organizations remain competitive in the digital economy.

Read the full report.

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