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Building Skills Connections Series: Perspectives of Alberta Employers


Alberta’s economy is gaining momentum, and employers in the province understand that a skilled workforce is critical to economic competitiveness. Building Skills Connection Series: Perspectives of Alberta Employers sheds light on the skills that employers are looking for, and the steps they are taking to identify and develop workers with in-demand skills. The third and final installment in a series on skills needs in Alberta, this report builds on previous research to provide insights into the evolving skills needs of Alberta’s employers.

Report highlights

  • In 2018, The Conference Board of Canada conducted a survey of 382 Alberta employers in key economic sectors to determine the skills, occupations, and credentials they need to thrive.
  • The majority of employers said they were transitioning to a more highly skilled workforce or would be doing so in the next three to five years.
  • If unable to meet their skills needs, employers said they would face consequences such as reduced productivity, inconsistent or lower product/service quality, reduced profitability, and reduced sales or loss of new opportunities.
  • Employers identified a range of challenges related to human skills, including employability and management skills, innovation skills, and technical or occupation-specific skills.
  • Most employers said they were seeking recruits with post-secondary education (PSE) credentials, especially university degrees and professional designations, but there was also demand for polytechnic degrees, college and polytechnic diplomas, certificates, and trades.
  • Many employers indicated they were investing in their skills needs by participating in work-integrated learning (WIL) programs, with co-op being one of the most popular options.
  • While most said they had good or excellent opportunities to communicate skills and training needs to PSE institutions, nearly a third perceived the opportunities to be limited and 5.6 per cent believed they were non-existent.
  • When asked what more Alberta PSE institutions could do to address their skills and training needs, employers called for more engagement and collaboration between industry and PSE. Other desires included curricula that integrate industry content and balance theory and practice; and teaching the knowledge and skills (both soft and technical) that employers seek.
  • Respondents also stressed the importance of a PSE system that reflects Alberta’s economic realities and can respond quickly to evolving industry needs.

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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