Beyond Blue and White Collar: A Skills-Based Approach to Canadian Job Groupings

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Beyond Blue and White Collar: A Skills-Based Approach to Canadian Job Groupings

Education & Skills
Pages:31 pages51 min read

Author: The Conference Board of Canada


Canadian employers are increasingly thinking about work from a skills perspective. This issue briefing takes a new approach to defining job groupings.

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Canada needs a modern, skills-based approach to talk about employment opportunities. An aspect of this is how we group jobs together. We identified eight new employment clusters in Canada based on underlying skill similarities.

  • STEM professionals have skills like programming, technology design, science, mathematics, and operations analysis that are in high demand. The labour market outlook for this cluster is strong.
  • Knowledge workers are the most highly educated group. The outlook for this group is good.
  • The personal services cluster emphasizes negotiation, speaking, persuasion, writing, and management of financial resources at levels that are modestly above average.
  • Supervisors have a well-rounded but moderate skill set that emphasizes basic, social and emotional, and managerial skills.
  • Most technical trades require some credentialing after high school. While overall skill requirements are generally low, there is often a need for highly specialized, occupation-specific skills.
  • A high school diploma is usually all that’s needed for non-technical trades jobs, but skills like operation and control, equipment maintenance, repairing, equipment selection, and troubleshooting are needed.
  • Builders have the highest risk of being replaced by automation. Their top skills include repairing, installation, equipment maintenance, troubleshooting, and equipment selection.
  • Doers have the strongest labour market prospects among the clusters with lower levels of educational attainment.

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