Are Canada’s Business Schools Teaching Social and Emotional Skills?

The Conference Board of Canada, November 7, 2018
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Canada’s employers are looking for advanced human skills (social and emotional intelligence) in new hires but are finding them to be in short supply. Because business schools are important conduits between young people and work, we examine what bachelor and diploma programs are doing to provide young people with the human skills employers increasingly want and need. We found that teaching so-called soft skills is hard. It remains difficult to create a set of experiences in the classroom to develop, apply, and assess human skills, and so business schools tend to rely on extracurricular initiatives.

Document Highlights

The majority of Canada’s young people (15 to 24 years) who graduate from post-secondary bachelor and diploma programs in business, management, or public administration go on to work in the public and private sectors in positions that require a strong mix of foundational business and human skills. But surveys consistently indicate that business schools are inadequately preparing new graduates for work. In addition, employers are increasingly demanding human skills but finding them to be in short supply among new hires.

However, business schools say that incorporating human skills training in classroom curricula is easier said than done, owing to challenges around assessing learning outcomes and meeting accreditation standards.

Are Canada’s Business Schools Teaching Social and Emotional Skills? presents some ideas on how Canada’s business schools may find new and innovative ways to bring human skills training into the classroom and to blend skills training and work as part of the learning continuum.

Table of Contents

Learning and Work Redefined
What Do B-School Stakeholders Have to Say About All of This?
The Summing Up
Appendix A—A Primer on Business Education in Canada
Appendix B—Bibliography

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