MRO Magazine

Training more likely when technology skills used in Canadian workplaces

Ottawa, ON -- The stronger the technological skills in a workplace, the more likely it is to provide training for i...


Industry

February 17, 2005
By MRO Magazine
MRO Magazine

Ottawa, ON — The stronger the technological skills in a workplace, the more likely it is to provide training for its employees, according to Canadian Economy in Transition: Who Trains? High-tech Industries or High-tech Workplaces?, the sixth study in a new analytical series examining industrial transitions in the Canadian economy. Workplaces with advanced technological skills are found throughout the economy, not just in science and information technology sectors.

The study, which uses data from Statistics Canada’s 1999 Workplace and Employee Survey, found that the likelihood of training in a workplace depends more on its technological competencies than whether it is in a science or information technology sector.

The study examines a range of workplace competencies related to innovation, technology implementation, technology outcomes and other business strategies. It measures the extent to which workplaces are technologically competent and knowledge-based at various stages of their production process, ranging from planning to the final product.

Workplaces with comparatively high technology skills are over three times more likely to train than workplaces with the lowest range of technology skills, taking basic differences in industry into account.

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Hence, businesses with technological competencies may be in a better position to take advantage of the benefits associated with their investments in computer hardware, software, managerial and professional training. These businesses operate in many different sectors.

The study shows that training, as a strategy for skill development, is widely practiced. Among for-profit workplaces in Canada’s business sector, 29% engaged in some type of classroom training to enhance the skills of their workers.

It found that participation in the knowledge economy, via workplace investments in training, is widespread. The set of technology skills that individual workplaces develop is a major factor in determining the incidence and intensity of training.

While science and technology sectors are home to large numbers of workplaces that train, training and technology skills are not factors that can easily be generalized to specific high-technology sectors of the economy.

Large workplaces are three times more likely to train than small workplaces, while medium-sized workplaces are twice as likely. Large workplaces offer significantly higher levels of classroom training in occupational health and safety, group decision-making or problem-solving, and team-building or leadership programs.

Workplaces with higher skilled work forces, as measured by differences in average pay, are three times more likely to train than workplaces with relatively lower skill sets.

The full report, Canadian Economy in Transition: Who Trains? High-tech Industries or High-tech Workplaces?, no. 6 is now available free at this link: http://www.statcan.ca/english/research/11-622-MIE/11-622-MIE2005006.pdf. Or go to www.statcan.ca, and from the Studies link on the main page, under Browse Periodicals and Studies, choose Free and For Sale, then under Studies, select Canadian Economy in Transition.

Studies in this series stress that the scope of the knowledge economy is larger than is sometimes thought. It extends well beyond the borders of highly-visible, high-tech sectors that focus on science and technology. Their findings have important implications when evaluating the extent to which knowledge-based transitions are reshaping the economy.

For more information on other papers related to the growth and development of the new economy, see the Economic Transitions page at www.statcan.ca. For more information on Statistics Canada’s research on the new economy, see The Canadian Economy in Transition: A Guide to Research on the New Economy, no. 1.