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Canadians expect employers to pay for skills training: survey


November 27, 2013
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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When it comes to training and upgrading workforce skills, the majority of Canadians feel that it’s the employers who should foot the bill to ensure that employees have an up-to-date skill set.

A recent study by human resources and staffing firm Randstad Canada reveals that 91 per cent of Canadian workers hold the employer responsible for ensuring that the skills and competences of employees correspond with job requirements.

“This may in part be related to the fact that the study also revealed that more than eight in 10 Canadian workers feel that the demands on employees are higher than five years ago,” said Tom Turpin, president of Randstad Canada.

This has significant implications for Canada’s skills shortage, as employed Canadians would be less likely to pursue advanced training on their own.

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“Canadians already have the highest rate of tertiary college education in the world,” said Turpin, citing a recent OECD report evaluating global education. “After years in school, for many there is an expectation that they should be able to get a good job and a strong career. That’s simply an unrealistic impression in many professions.”

However, while Canadian workers are among the most likely to expect their employers to ensure their skills and competences are maintained, they are also amongst the least likely in the world to believe that formal education will become more important in their position, with only 57 per cent agreeing.

“Education and training is a serious investment for either a company or an individual. It isn’t an easy thing for a job seeker or worker to do on their own, but many professions require it,” said Turpin, speaking about retraining requirements for technology professions, or further advancement required for financial designations like a CPA. “Canadians who are looking for opportunities for training within their workplace, or through their employer, need to start that discussion today.”

Implementation of programs like the Canada Job Grant, which shares the cost of training with the employer, can take time, and the Job Grant program announced earlier this year won’t be fully instituted until 2017. However, the advantages of training and promoting from within are very real.

“When you train someone and bring them up through the ranks, it can be beneficial to your employer brand. It can also be a very beneficial cost savings, removing the need to engage in a more complex hiring process, or train new employees on your internal processes,” said Turpin.

To ensure they are bridging the skills gap accordingly, employers need to evaluate what processes or strategies will help them meet their long-term hiring and skills management goals. At the same time, Canadian job seekers and workers need to plan for ongoing skills development to both ensure they are prepared to meet the requirements of future job opportunities, as well as to advance within the companies they currently work for.

randstad.ca