Economic Cost of Skills Vacancies

Skills Are Valuable and in Demand

Key Findings

Skills are Valuable

Just 18 individual skills account for 65 per cent of the variation in wages across occupations. This demonstrates that skills are valuable and that wages and salaries are at least partly based on the skill set or specific skills the job requires.

Six Most Valued Skills Vacancies

Skills come in regular groupings, commonly known as skill sets. Our skills gap analysis revealed the six most valued skills vacancies: active listening, critical thinking, reading comprehension, speaking, monitoring, and coordination.

Four Main Skill Sets

Skill sets can be classified into four main groups: basic daily, social and emotional, resource management, and task and technical skills.

Skills Investments

We can determine the value of skills and skill groups using the average wages and job vacancies for those occupations. This helps policy-makers and educators prioritize skills investments.

Lack of Skills Equals Lost Economic Value

A lack of skills in the labour pool leads to unfilled jobs and lost economic value.

Aggregate Value of Skills Vacancies, by Skill Group

(value of skill group vacancies in 2020, $ billions)

Social and emotional skills Basic skills Technical skills Resource management skills Systems skills 0 6 7 8 9 5 4 3 2 1

Sources: The Conference Board of Canada; O*NET; Statistics Canada.

We can estimate the value of these skill group vacancies, just as we can with individual skills, and use these values to help policy-makers and educators prioritize and direct investments to assist them in closing the skills gap.

Skills vacancies are imposing an increasing burden on the overall Canadian economy.

Recent Release

Canadian Economics     March 2, 2022

Such sought-after skills are valuable. Salaries or wages reflect, in part, how valuable a certain skill set is to an organization. So, we can define the value of skill vacancies as the unrealized monetary value when a vacancy for particular skills goes unfilled.

Issue briefing  •  11-min read

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Employment in Canada is going to look different in the future. The types of education, abilities, skills, and experiences that employers seek are evolving amid a confluence of forces reshaping the nature of work around the world. Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics, unmanned vehicles, and the Internet of Things, the growing share of knowledge-based services, and the rise of technology-enabled platforms will reshape careers.

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About This Study

The Conference Board of Canada, on behalf of the Future Skills Centre, is leading a study that converts standard Canadian job vacancies data into skills vacancies.

Toronto Metropolitan University
The Conference Board of Canada
Government of Canada