When Parliament opens on Thursday the era of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will really get underway. A change in government often doesn’t have much of an impact on the workforce in the early years, however given the pre-election commitments made by the now governing Liberals it’s possible that prospects could improve for job seekers and businesses in need of skilled labour.
The party made several commitments in areas that recruitment company Randstad Canada’s been studying for some time, including skilled trades, youth employment, integrated training, flexible workplaces and the importance of innovation. It’s up to all of us to hold the government accountable.
Here are some of the promises made by the Liberals and what they might mean to the job market:
Flexible work hours
The Liberal platform includes a change to labour laws to ensure that employees in federally regulated industries have the right to ask for flexible work hours. While it’s not a toothy commitment, what’s important is the recognition that the way Canadians work is changing.
Randstad’s Workmonitor studies have revealed that the latest generation of workers — those who are connected, always-on multi-taskers — are less mindful of the boundaries between workspace and my space. While more than half of young people are willing to take work home, they expect that as long as they get the work done, they should have the flexibility to work when and where they feel most productive.
It is expected that millennials will make up 75 per cent of the Canadian workforce by 2028. That’s a big number which reinforces the need to evaluate workplace policies and find ways to address the needs of employees now and in the future.
Almost half of the country’s young people are employed in retail, food service or clerical work, and youth unemployment continues to be nearly double the national average. That makes the Trudeau government’s commitment to youth, jobs and training very important for the future job market.
We firmly believe a strong and renewed focus on a national Youth Employment Strategy is imperative if we are to leverage the strength of the next generation workforce and address the widening skills gap. Our studies show that investments in youth and skills training – in particular in science, tech, engineering and math – are intrinsically linked. We know students are beginning to favour these subjects but they don’t see clear opportunities for their future careers. If left unaddressed, that gap in being able to translate learning into jobs has dire consequences for the future.
Another significant commitment involves investments in training, including provincially led programs, training facilities, co-op and pre-apprenticeship programs, and an expanded Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy. We can’t emphasize enough how crucial these investments are to the sustainability of Canada’s job market. Without them, employers won’t have the right candidates to fill the jobs of the future in the face of an already wide and still swelling skills gap. It’s a problem that requires immediate solutions.
Government investment and clear links to provincial programming that enables training are potential solutions. Both are aided by businesses that are willing to invest in work-integrated learning opportunities such as internships, co-op programs and apprenticeships. Such programs help build the soft skills students need, as well as relationships between employers and potential qualified employees.
They also have the potential to widen the pool of candidates; a Randstad Labour Trends Study revealed that if training programs were readily available, Canadians would be enticed to begin, or transition into careers in skilled trades. Furthermore, the inclusion of people with diverse perspectives, experiences and ideas will create a wider talent pool with deeper assets.
We’re eager to see how these commitments work at the provincial level and across the country and we hope Trudeau’s government delivers on its promise to invest in creating these important links and doubling the annual uptake of the federal Skills Link program.
This is an area that can no longer be ignored. Conference Board findings rank Canada 13 out of 16 similar nations on innovation. And the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, puts the country at an unimpressive 15th in business innovation. This isn’t good enough. It comes down to basic math: Innovation plus business productivity equals economic growth.
A proposed three-year investment in research facilities, small business incubators and industrial research assistance is an important first step. But, to ensure long-term growth, we must be prepared to sustain that momentum once it starts to build.
Marc-Étienne Julien is the CEO of Randstad Canada, the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services.
Original Link: http://business.financialpost.com/executive/careers/canadas-future-workforce-may-thrive-if-the-liberals-promises-are-kept