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Building Skills Connections Series: Alberta in a Nutshell

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Albertans are concerned about current and future skills gaps in the province, especially following the 2015–16 recession. While labour shortages are not a new issue in Alberta, skills requirements in the workplace continue to evolve. Building Skills Connections Series: Alberta in a Nutshell examines the state of skills gaps in Alberta, drawing on relevant literature, current data, and a series of interviews with Alberta employers and labour market experts. The first in a series of reports on skills needs in Alberta, it lays the groundwork for in-depth analyses of the skills requirements in seven key sectors of the province’s economy, providing a broad overview of skills supply and demand in the province.

Report Highlights

  • Alberta is well positioned to thrive amid disruptors like demographic change and rapid technological development, but meeting the demand for skilled workers will be essential to ensuring its long-term prosperity.
  • Skills needs in Alberta are evolving. In-demand jobs increasingly require post-secondary education, and employers are prioritizing new skill sets such as creative/problem-solving skills, digital skills, skills related to international collaboration, and social/human skills.
  • There is also a continued need for essential skills such as literacy and numeracy. These will be critical in enabling individuals to adapt to the changing workplace.
  • As the economic landscape changes, both employers and post-secondary institutions will have a role in ensuring that Alberta has access to the well-educated, highly skilled workforce it needs.

Increasingly, in-demand jobs in Alberta require post-secondary education (PSE). A Government of Alberta study suggests that, among the 197,000 new jobs expected by 2020, over half will require some type of PSE credential. The province will require even more skilled workers to offset a projected labour shortage of 49,000 workers by 2025.

While stable economic growth is expected for Alberta in the short to medium term, factors like an aging population, slower population growth, and a stagnant PSE participation rate will impact the province’s supply of skilled workers. Meanwhile, rapid technological development is transforming the labour market, creating a shift in the skills that organizations need to remain competitive.

We argue that Alberta’s continued success depends on its ability to meet evolving skills needs—which has important implications for both employers and PSE institutions.

Forthcoming Conference Board reports will draw on additional interviews with sector-specific stakeholders, as well as findings from an online survey of Alberta employers, in order to:

  • delve deeper into the challenges facing Alberta’s major employment sectors;
  • report on the needs, concerns, and priorities of employers across the province;  
  • expand on the actions that employers and PSE institutions can take to ensure Alberta has a well-educated, highly skilled workforce.

Full Report

Access the full report free of charge—and stay tuned for further reports from the Building Skills Connections Series.

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