In modern economy, the most valuable resources are not natural resources, but on human capital. Continuous upgrading of skills as well as structural re-organisation in the workplace has become an essential component in the contribution of accelerating levels of productivity and economic performance. The value of human capital endowment lies in education attainment and development of technical skills of its population especially facilitating the integration of labor in the knowledge based industries. This essay will discuss in detail the Canadian labour force and qualities the youth require in order to have successful careers in the 21st century
Canada is the second largest country in the world but the 35th in terms of population size. It has abundant natural resources but the small population makes it impossible to make use of the available resources, thus Canada relies on export of natural resources and raw materials than finished products, which are more profitable in terms of economic growth and development.
With the county’s abundance in resources and the excellent infrastructure which is excellent for economic development, its performance in higher education has been found to be on a downward trend with lower university enrolment rates and a decline in training of staff at the workplace.
Canada has an aging population due to increased life expectancy and those born between 1946-1965 (Baby boomers) are reaching the retirement age. There is a low birth rate and the ‘working age’ population is expected to drop from 4.9 in 2011 to 2.7 in 2031.Without change, when the aging population exits the market the labor force will lack skilled workers and this will affect both the economic and social welfare (Sorensen, 2013).
Labour participation rates and investment in education need to be increased in a variety of unrepresented groups that include; persons with disabilities, aboriginals, immigrants, women and the youth. There has been a rapid change in the information and communication technology in the 21st century that has made the globe contact into a single large village due the diverse virtual connectivity. There is access to information, services, education, healthcare, electronic commerce from all over almost instantaneously due the revolution of technology.
The advancements have led to replacement of labour intensive jobs with machinery to increase productivity. It has led to adaptation of a horizontal structure of management, which consist of upper management and lower management. It is more formal and requires high level of education, requires people who are self-motivated, innovative, high level of discipline and are able to work effectively with a multi discipline of a diverse team. The organisation structure is smaller and more effective as it requires less supervision (Miner, 2013).
It is clear that learning is key to employment for a successful career in the 21st century. As mentioned earlier on Canada has higher population that almost reaching the retirement age thus in the next few years the dependency ratio will be more than those who are employed leading to a slow and undesirable economic growth (Sorensen, 2013).
There have been recent changes in Canada to cope with labour market shortages. Quebec has expanded day care programs, which have led to an increase in the number of employed female workers. There has been a change in immigration policy, which has created programs that help in aligning immigrant skills with labour market needs. There is increased federal investment in education and training of aboriginals and persons with disability to cater for the labor market needs (Miner, 2013).
An increased diversity post secondary programs that align with the labour market is mandatory. It is important to align the skills that are needed in the current job market with those that are present and this can only be achieved by beginning from the education systems. Currently, there is an education system, which promotes university more than college; finishing high school has been put as a default option. In contrast to this, the government of British Columbia has projected jobs of the future will require college education as it promotes technical skills and fewer university graduates as they lay emphasis on theoretical knowledge and research (Miner, 2013).
The education systems need to pay attention to literacy and employability skills all the way from high school, universities and college. Due to the technological changes and global competition, career change is frequent with job transitions becoming important, thus education systems should be more relevant and flexible. The students should be equipped with good communication skills when it come to writing, speaking and reading, numerical understanding, they should encompass the ability to work as a team and with diversity application. Being innovative and good problem solving skills and critical thinking is important and an added advantage in the current job market. Universities and colleges need to streamline the education program in such a way that students gets moth the theoretical and applied skills for better labour market opportunities. The modification will also aid in choosing career paths that will be in high demand in the market. Universities should consider less emphasis on research activities and more on technical skills. Colleges on the other hand would be more advantageous if they could offer compressed programs to individuals who are bright and motivated, but it is encouraging that they are currently a great source in provision of upgrading programs (Miner, 2013).
Career counseling in high school needs to be enhanced in order to produce highly skilled professionals into the job market; the government can provide user-friendly labour market information to the students and jobseekers so that they can make informed career choices. Mentorship of young workers by graduates and professionals who have more expertise also helps in terms of selection of career choice. Twenty five percent of students have been reported to dropout before the end of their first year in college or university; this has been attributed to lack of understanding of the connection between their program of study and labour market opportunities, thus mentorship and counseling appeals in such a scenario. It is important for employers to be informed on new technologies to anticipate the skills demanded in the labour market to communicate the necessary skills needed by students (Sorensen, 2013). Advancement in the Information technology has rendered many jobs obsolete and most require highly skilled individuals in almost all sectors. Few employers invest in employee career training that helps in proactive upgrading of skills (Brisbois “et al”, 2008).
The Canadian government has started apprenticeship programs that give young people the opportunity to begin apprenticeship while still in high school to master the skills needed in the labour market even before they commence on their post secondary programs. Outreach programs, career fairs and talks are now common in colleges and universities and are important as they provide an opportunity to garner hands on experience on some of the skills used in various occupations. Employers to communicate their required skills in a certain occupation also use them. The early exposure helps boost their confidence, critical thinking and sharpen their problem solving skills that are critical in the job market in the 21st century (Brisbois “et al”, 2008).
Canada is a country that has transition to a ‘knowledge economy’ that will eventually rely on a highly skilled labour force. Those without the necessary skills could find themselves unemployed. Nearly half the population do not have the necessary skills to participate in a modern economy thus the emphasis on postsecondary system. There should be career guidance for both parents and students, the educational system should focus on impacting employability skill to their students with leadership skills, communication skills and analytical capabilities for them to have successful careers in the current global competitiveness. The government need to provide education grants that will encourage students to enroll in programs where skill shortages exist. At the same time there is need for investing in education in underrepresented groups (Manly, 2013).
In conclusion, a successful career young people should encompass the necessary skill that will be applicable in the current decentralised form of management in different companies, which have the horizontal administration structure and have individualisation of work task, all this for maximisation of output and boost economic growth and development. The goal will be achieved when the created workforce is creative, productive and is innovative and able to work with diverse members of the community (Komarnicki, 2012)
Brisbois, R., Orton, L., & Saunders, R. (2008). Connecting Supply And Demand in Canadian’s Youth Labour Market. Pathways to the Labour Market. 8(2); 1-63
Komarnicki, E. (2012). Labour and Skills Shortages in Canada: Addressing Current and Future Challenges.
Manly, J. (2013). Jobs, skills and opportunities: strengthening Canada’s human capital.
Miner, R. (2013). Connecting People with Jobs and Jobs with People. New Brunswick Telegraph
Sorensen, C. (2013). The Future of Jobs in Canada. Skills mismatch may mean 1.5 million vacancies by 2016.