What education and skills are needed for today's jobs?
Today, a high school education – and post-secondary education and training – are more important than ever. In fact, as the world changes so quickly, many occupations require that we continue learning throughout our lives.
The education level and skills required for most occupations has increased over time. While there are still many low skill, entry-level occupations, for example, the basic skills required to enter these occupations has increased.
This chart shows, for example, how educational requirements have increased over the last decade. It shows that:
- The proportion of workers in Ontario with post-secondary qualifications increased sharply between 1998 and 2008.
- By 2008, two-thirds of adult workers had completed post-secondary education, up from 56 per cent in 1998.
- The proportion of workers with high school fell slightly (to one in five), and the share with less than high school experienced a steep decline (from 15 per cent to 8 per cent).
A growing trend, especially evident in new and evolving "high-tech" jobs, is the demand for workers with a combination of technical training, formal education and “soft” skills. For example, a recent report for Engineers Canada and the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists identified that, while many graduates and recent immigrants have the necessary technical skills to perform their work, there is a growing need for non-technical skills, such as communications, project management and team work, that are often acquired through experience.
You should know
In addition to job-specific knowledge and skills, employers today look for a broader set of skills – often called employability skills - in all workers. The Conference Board of Canada developed the critical employability skills profile for the Canadian workforce. The profile outlines foundation skills for employability:
- Academic: provides the foundation for good communication skills, a capacity to analyse, evaluate and solve problems and to learn new assignments and new ways of doing the job when technology changes.
- Personal management skills: positive attitude, ability to take responsibility and be accountable, ability to deal with changes in the workplace and be innovative, and respect for others.
- Teamwork skills: the skills needed to work with others on a job and to achieve the best results.