New job posting analysis reveals the top skills companies want from young Canadians right now

A new report takes a hard look at the skills required to land entry-level jobs. Despite the currently low unemployment rate, getting hired for that very first job to start building a career remains a challenge for many young Canadians.

For this study, released yesterday by CivicAction, researchers analyzed thousands of job descriptions posted between 2014 and 2017 that required 1) a high-school education with no additional certification, and 2) zero to two years of experience, to identify where the greatest number of entry-level opportunities exist, and what employers were looking for in new hires.

Retail, health care and social assistance, and finance and insurance continue to be the largest industries offering entry‑level roles.

The report reveals that as many as one in five young people in Canada are working in jobs that are at high risk of being affected by automation. To help prepare people for career opportunities that won’t be so replaceable by technology, the report identifies six foundational skills that are highly sought after by employers.

In demand skills in Canadian job postings:

  • communication,
  • growth mindset,
  • collaboration,
  • empathy,
  • creativity,
  • and digital literacy

These human skills such as empathy and creativity are among the hardest for technology to mimic and therefore, are expected to be more in demand in the future. Across the sectors identified, communication was also the number one baseline skill employers are looking for. Digital literacy is increasingly essential for jobs across career levels and sectors.

“Ironically, some of the hardest skills to acquire are the softer ones—many of which can’t be outsourced to technology,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction. “If young people have opportunities to download new skills and double-click on current opportunities, we can keep our future workforce engaged and employed.”

The report estimates that in 2019, there will be 182,000 information and communication technologies job vacancies in Canada.

The sectors offering the most entry-level jobs regionally:

See the full SkillsConnect report from CivicAction.

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