We’re missing jobs, not skills, opinion

July 18, 2013

Jim Stanford, an economist for the Canadian Auto Workers, offers an alternate view on the oft-touted skills-gap issue. Stanford references a Tweet by new minister of employment and social development Jason Kenney, which establishes that the government is focusing on the skills mismatch problem: skilled employees aren’t being matched with the right jobs. Stanford suggests that this theory is wrong, and that “except in very rare circumstances, the labour market almost never runs out of workers.” He says that the problem is actually a “persistent inadequacy of employer demand for labour,” and that the clear restriction to a higher employment rate is the “number of jobs, not the availability of willing workers.” He also states that a lack of skills are not the problem either; citing the high PSE attainment rate in Canada. “While investments in more training always make sense, there is no general skills shortage.” To back up this claim, Stanford also points out that StatsCan reports just over 200,000 unfilled job vacancies in the entire economy, a number that has declined, and is small relative to the overall economy (equivalent to barely 1% of the labour force). Stanford concludes that job-creation should be the government’s main focus. Globe and Mail