MDB Insight Blog


The Future of the Workforce

Canadian youth are entering a workforce that is in transition; many are training for jobs that may be obsolete in the coming years due to advancements in technology and automation. To avoid a crisis in skills, how do we prepare youth for what is to come?

One answer lies in focusing on skills instead of credentials.

If the credential mill does not give way to a skills economy, many more young people will be faced with the prospect of being overqualified for the job they have but underskilled for the job they want. De-emphasizing credentials and emphasizing skills will facilitate employment mobility now, and in the long-term.

The Future of the Workforce: Changing the Conversation

To change the conversation about the future workforce, a set of tools is needed to help EDOs and workforce development managers create proactive and pre-emptive workforce strategies to stem the coming tide of change. Such strategies will ultimately need to focus on 21st century skills — and should also include the so-called soft skills such as time management, complex problem solving, writing, instructing, and negotiation, among others.

It is these kinds of skills, not credentials, that will allow workers lateral and vertical mobility in their places of work and facilitate job satisfaction and feelings of belonging and worth.

These skills will also provide future workers with a greater degree of adaptability as they move from one job to the next as they build their careers.

So how do communities prepare for these changes? EDOs and workforce development managers will need to use workforce development boards, and partner with:

  • post-secondary institutions,

  • technical institutes, and

  • local businesses and employers,

in order to provide skills improvement and training.


In addition to these proactive measures, insight into trends across sectors will give you advance notice of changes that are likely to affect your community — so you can plan for them in order to provide the best outcomes for your labour force. To do this, you need real-time tools, such as real-time labour reports that are specific to your region and community.

A micro focus on employment and hiring trends will provide insight into workforce variables that will affect your specific community.

It is important, though, that the labour reports be delivered in real time, and as often as monthly or quarterly. Less frequent reporting will not provide up-to-date information, and this will affect your ability to plan for the future of the workforce in your community.

MDB Insight and Vicinity Jobs’ Regional Labour Demand and Supply Reporting SystemsTM, will give you reliable, real time data on:

  • Demand and supply labour trends in your region

  • The skills that are most in demand by employers in your region

  • The education and skills levels of the existing labour force

  • Where nearby pockets of potential labour exist

This information will allow you to:

  • Prepare targeted advertisements to recruit suitable workers

  • Attract investors whose interests align with your workforce development strategies

  • Partner with educational institutions to boost particular skills that are expected to be most in demand

  • Stay ahead of market fluctuations

Future Workforce Development Depends on Present-Day Action

To succeed in the age of automation, young people need to change their focus from credentials to skills. Getting a degree was enough to secure a stable job and career path for life, but younger workers will now need to keep on top of skills development as part of lifelong learning.

Tools such as real time labour reports can help you steer a workforce development strategy that takes these imminent changes into account, so that the workers in your community — and your community itself — remain competitive and vibrant now and in the age of automation.

Learn more about other tools to help you develop a successful workforce strategy with this infographic.

How to Build A Workforce Development Plan in Your Community  button


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