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Half of Ontarians fear their skills will soon be obsolete

New OCC report urges urgent action to improve alignment of skills, education, career opportunities

TORONTO, June 20, 2017 – Today the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released a comprehensive report, Talent in Transition: Addressing the Skills Mismatch in Ontario, which identifies ten recommendations that will better align the skills acquired by Ontarians with those required by employers.

The report, which was developed in partnership with leading officials in the private and educational sectors, as well as with representatives from across Ontario, includes exclusive, new research of both OCC members as well as the general population on sentiment toward skills development. Of the six in ten of businesses who attempted to recruit staff in 2016, 82 per cent experienced a challenge in hiring someone with the proper qualifications.

“Ontario employers are finding it more and more challenging to recruit properly qualified talent. If improvements are not made, Ontario will have people without jobs and jobs without people,” said Richard Koroscil, interim-President and CEO at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our latest report identifies opportunities to improve alignment of skills, education, career opportunities.”

It is not just employers who are concerned with the growing skills mismatch. Of the general population, half of Ontarians are concerned their skills and expertise will no longer be useful or will become less valuable in the next decade.

Over the last decade in Ontario, the skills mismatch has been a major concern for the future growth of the economy. The report argues that as Ontarians move into the knowledge-based economy with rapidly changing technological advancement, it is essential to leverage our greatest asset, human capital.

The OCC has outlined a strategy that unites government and industry to work collaboratively to ensure that all regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce required to compete in the global economy. In working together on the recommendations presented in this report, Government and industry can:

  • Improve the transition from school to the workplace (through the expansion of experiential learning opportunities).
  • Improve the labour market outcomes (achieved through Employment Ontario programs).
  • Develop a modernized apprenticeship system (reflective of the current business climate and focused on the integration of young people into the trades).

“Working collaboratively on the skills mismatch is the only way to make significant progress,” continues Koroscil. “When government and industry align we can keep Ontario competitive within a rapidly changing global economy and ensure all Ontarians have access to proper education and meaningful career opportunities.”

The OCC has been active on the skills issue since 2012. This report is part of the OCC’s larger advocacy to ensure all regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce that they require to compete in the global knowledge economy. The OCC will be convening business, government and academia leader in the fall to explore how educators, employers and government can better navigate the development of skills in a world of disruptive and transformative technology.

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The OCC is Ontario’s business advocate.

 

Media Contact:

Sydney Stonier

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

sydneystonier@occ.ca

647-243-3561

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