Job Seekers Will Require ‘Human Skills’ As Automation Takes Over

Automation will affect 50 per cent of Canadian jobs in the next 10 years, according to a new RBC research paper. The changing workplace will impact 4 million young Canadians transitioning from education to employment.

“Canada is at a historic crossroads – we have the largest generation of young people coming into the workforce at the very same time technology is starting to impact most jobs in the country,” said Dave McKay, president and CEO, RBC in a press release. “Canada is on the brink of a skills revolution and we have a responsibility to prepare young people for the opportunities and ambiguities of the future.”

The shift from a jobs economy to a skills economy will require employment seekers to have human skills to “remain competitive and resilient in the labour market.” According to Humans Wanted – How Canadian youth can thrive in the age of disruption, over the next four years Canada is expected to add 2.4 million jobs, most of which will require a varied skillset.

“There is a changing demand for skills,” said John Stackhouse, senior vice-president, RBC. “According to our findings, if employers and the next generation of employees focus on foundational ‘human skills’, they’ll be better able to navigate a new age of career mobility as technology continues to reshape every aspect of the world around us.”

Human skills include qualities such as critical thinking, social perceptiveness, active listening, and complex problem-solving.

“As digital and machine technology advances, the next generation of Canadians will need to be more adaptive, creative and collaborative, adding and refining skills to keep pace with a world of work undergoing profound change,” added McKay.

New jobs will require digital literacy and the ability to understand digital components, technologies, and the internet.

The report has several recommendations for organizations to adapt to the changing work environment, including a national review of post-secondary education programs, a national target of 100 per cent work-integrated learning, standardization of labour market information, and the creation of an initiative to help employees measure and incorporate foundational skills.

The report concludes: “Without the right people and the right skills, the economy won’t work. If we can get Canadians, especially young Canadians, to tap into these skills foundations, our economy will be ready for the skills transition.”


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