In 2020, the ever-distant “future of work” seemingly landed on our doorstep, with millions of workers affected by massive disruption in the labour market. Many different reports examined the impact of COVID-19 on education and the workforce, including the disproportionate impact of the recession on certain populations. The reports below are among those that stood out this year – but they’re only a small snapshot of what has been produced. What research was most informative for your work in 2020? Share in the comments below!
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Canada – A learning nation: A skilled, agile workforce ready to shape the future (Future Skills Council)
Career professionals know that lifelong learning is a key to adaptability, which will help workers thrive amid labour market disruptions. This report outlines five priorities to make Canada a “learning nation,” including specific recommendations for action:
- Helping Canadians make informed choices
- Equality of opportunity for lifelong learning
- Skills development to support Indigenous self-determination
- New and innovative approaches to skills development and validation
- Skills development for sustainable futures
This forward-looking report provides a tool for understanding how Canada’s labour market could evolve over the next decade. It highlights actionable insights into the jobs that are likely to grow or decline in importance across Canada in the next decade, and the skills that could help workers navigate these shifts. An accompanying web app allows readers to get granular with the data, exploring the implications of the forecast by occupation, skills, geography and demographic characteristics.
The Role of Career Education on High School Students’ Education Choices and Post-secondary Outcomes (SRDC)
At a time when high school students’ choices about work and education have become increasingly challenging, this CERIC-supported research speaks to the influence that career education can have. This report, from the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC), finds evidence that career education in high school changes students’ career choices and pathways. The analysis equips the career counselling profession to respond authoritatively to increasingly urgent policy questions about how optimally to structure career education for young people.
“She-cession” is one of the words that has defined 2020, and Canada’s long-term economic recovery will be tied in part to how successfully it is able to re-integrate women into the labour force. This research from RBC observed that women’s increased caregiving responsibilities and greater representation in sectors hit hardest by the recession pushed women’s participation in the labour force down to its lowest level in three decades. A recent update from RBC has found that even as men return to the workforce, women continue to leave it.
The introduction of this report, published in June, observed that “the need to reinvent our social and economic policy frameworks has a newfound urgency.” It quickly became clear that labour market disruption associated with COVID was not felt equally, with young people, women and historically marginalized groups most affected by the recession. This report examines Canada’s labour market and explores key trends related to the nature and quality of work, and considers which trends might accelerate or change course post-pandemic. It concludes with policy recommendations to help build a more inclusive and resilient Canadian economy.
While the monthly Labour Force Survey would not normally stand out, the July 2020 report is notable because it was the first time the release included information on the labour market conditions of visible minorities. The July report found that the national unemployment rate for those aged 15 to 69 was 11.3%, but several groups had rates of joblessness significantly above this average, including South Asian (17.8%), Arab (17.3%), and Black (16.8%) Canadians.
This report was part of a series of papers released in 2020 by Future Skills Centre, in partnership with Public Policy Forum and the Diversity Institute, exploring the most important issues currently affecting the skills ecosystem in Canada. Mapping the Landscape examines the rise in Indigenous entrepreneurship in Canada. It suggests that if there is an opportunity for the next generation, and for current adult workers, to leapfrog into the future of Canadian work, it may be through Indigenous-led business.
During a period of reflection for the career development field, it is also helpful to look outward to draw inspiration for the future of career guidance in Canada. This report presents a collection of innovative or promising examples of how career guidance is changing around the world. The report aims to facilitate learning from these examples, to increase awareness and understanding of policy and practice in career guidance, and to provide policy inspiration to the international community.
Investing in a Resilient Canadian Workforce: Business Council of Canada Skills Survey 2020 (Business + Higher Education Roundtable)
This report explores the Canadian talent market through the eyes of human resources executives at some of Canada’s largest employers – helpful insight for those supporting jobseekers and students in their career planning. It looks at how employers are responding to rapid change and attempting to prepare for an uncertain future. Among the key findings: While employers are expecting more from new graduates when it comes to productivity, resiliency, technical and human skills, candidates have greater expectations around work-life balance, flexibility, empowerment and meaningful work.
The Future of Jobs report maps the jobs and skills of the future, tracking the pace of change. It aims to shed light on the pandemic-related disruptions in 2020, contextualized within a longer history of economic cycles and the expected outlook for technology adoption, jobs and skills in the next five years.