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Are Canadas Business Schools Teaching Social and Emotional Skills?

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Between 2015 and 2018, the Conference Board surveyed and interviewed more than 1,000 business school students, faculty, deans, careers office staff, recent graduates, and employers across Canada to gain a better understanding of the issues and challenges facing business schools today.

We focused our questions on the skills needs of employers and whether business schools were producing graduates with the right mix of skills for today’s labour market and the future of work. The findings from these conversations and a review of the literature and data led us to focus this briefing on the state of social and emotional skills training.

Report 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 and rankings consistently indicate that business schools are inadequately teaching the full skills inventory or preparing new graduates for work.
  • Employers are increasingly demanding human skills (i.e., social and emotional intelligence) but finding them to be in short supply among new hires.
  • 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.
  • It doesn’t help that the jury is still out on whether human skills can be taught and, if so, how? As a result, most human skills training happens outside the classroom, in the form of extracurricular, non-credit initiatives.
  • To improve career success for young people and the success of Canada’s public and private sectors, Canada’s business schools will need to 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.

Full Report

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