Canada Budget Officer points out skills-gap data flaw

March 27, 2014

A new Parliamentary Budget Office report says some studies claiming that there is a skills shortage in Canada are inaccurate, and that Finance Canada’s jobs-shortage claims, found in its “Jobs Report,” have been thrown off by including data from online classifieds website Kijiji. According to the Globe and Mail, the Conference Board of Canada had found the same issue with using Kijiji for its data on job vacancies, and has removed it as a source. As a result, its skills-shortage trend line has become “a generally flat line” compared to the “Jobs Report,” which claimed that Canada’s labour market has a job-vacancy rate that has been “increasing steadily since 2009.” Kevin McQuillan, Deputy Provost at the University of Calgary who has written a paper challenging claims of a Canadian labour shortage, says online postings have been posing a challenge to job-vacancy data gathering for some time. “We haven’t really gotten on top of this new way of hiring that’s done in online postings, [where] the same notice of a job appearing on multiple sites, or social media. So counting that can be difficult,” says McQuillan. Globe and Mail