Canada’s “skills gap” is actually an “experience gap”

April 9, 2014

The problem that recent graduates are having finding quality work in their fields is not due to a skills gap, but an experience gap, says a recent article in Maclean’s. The article explores the criteria employers are looking for when they post “entry-level” positions, finding that many of these positions state the need for 2-5 years of experience. Many recent graduates do not possess that level of prior experience without undertaking a co-op program, explains researcher Sophie Borwein of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, who is currently working on a report on the topic. Employers today are also less willing to train new employees, especially around the soft skills needed for the labour force – communications, time management, etc. Internships are another way to gain this valuable experience before hitting the job market, but internships, and co-ops, are hard to find and competition is high. Institutions such as Queen’s University have introduced internship programs that match recent graduates with employers, but Queen's has only 300-500 job postings per year for over 17,000 students. Maclean’s