MRO Magazine

SKILLS SHORTAGES COSTING ONTARIO $28 BILLION ANNUALLY

Toronto – Ontario is losing out on as much as $24.3 billion in economic activity and $3.7 billion in provincial tax revenues annually because employers cannot find people with the skills they need to innovate and grow in today’s...


Toronto – Ontario is losing out on as much as $24.3 billion in economic activity and $3.7 billion in provincial tax
revenues annually because employers cannot find people with the skills they need to innovate and grow in today’s economy, according to a Conference Board of Canada report.

“Closing the skills gap could help the province reduce public debt or invest in much-needed infrastructure improvements,” said Michael Bloom, the Board’s vice-president of organizational effectiveness and learning.

Skills gaps currently affect much of Ontario’s economy, including sectors that account for almost 40% of employment: manufacturing; health care;
professional, scientific and technical services; and financial industries. Skills gaps are projected to worsen if action is not taken.

“Ontario cannot afford to live with a skills gap of this magnitude. The need for action is urgent, since changes in education will take years to bear fruit in the labour force,” said Bloom.

Responses to the Board’s Ontario Employer Skills Survey show that employers most need post-secondary graduates in science, engineering and technology, and business and finance. The most widespread needs are for employees with two- or three-year college diplomas (57%), four-year degrees (44%), and trades (41%).

The negative impact on the Ontario economy goes beyond the issue of skills shortages. Another issue with economic consequences is skills mismatches in the labour force – individuals whose skills and training are not being fully utilized in the jobs they have.

The Conference Board estimates that these mismatches, by themselves, cost Ontario’s economy and workers up to $4.1 billion in foregone gross domestic product. Many post-secondary education graduates have skills and training in sectors with few available jobs. In addition, employers sometimes fail to make the most of their employees’ skills and talents.