“Our research helps business and government address the shortage of technical workers, essential skills levels and underemployment.”

Janet Lane, Director, Human Capital Centre

Human Capital Centre

We help businesses and governments match jobs to skills & skills to jobs, ensuring people’s essential skills and competencies are being used to full advantage, and increasing productivity.

2018 work plan (pdf)

A better way to work

Canada’s labour market is inefficient: there are 470,000 jobs without people and 1.1 million people without jobs. But no one really knows which skills are in demand and which skills people can supply. A competency approach can transform the way we develop our workforce. In 2018, we will build on our body of work to show that a competency-driven workforce can help match the right people with the right jobs.


2018 Projects

Reduce friction in the Canadian labour market

Points of friction include: unfilled jobs compared to the number of unemployed people, the time it takes immigrants to integrate into the workforce, post-secondary graduates who struggle to find work, workplace incidents, poor labour productivity. These all reduce efficiency in the Canadian labour market. A reliable tool to show who gets hired, by whom, for what job, using what competencies, will go a long way to reducing that friction. Our project will build on our prior work to produce an online resource, updated in real time, with data on which competencies are required for today’s jobs.

The future of a coal town without coal

The closure of coal-fired generating plants in Alberta will leave the economies of some towns decimated. We will conduct a major study, with practical recommendations, to build the competency profile of a coal town. This can be used by coal industry workers to find other work in other industries; by employers to recognize the competencies of coal industry workers for jobs they have available; and by municipal and provincial agencies working to attract new employers to the town. This research also sets the stage for large-scale competency profiling that could be applied in other cases of workforce disruption due to automation, roboticization, and artificial intelligence.

New, different work for laid off oil and gas workers

Laid-off oil and gas workers have developed significant competencies that can be useful in other sectors and occupations – the problem is that neither they nor potential employers realize it. This project will work with up to 250 unemployed oil and gas workers to analyze the competencies that have been developed, where they are needed, and how to match people looking for work with available jobs.

Literacy skill loss – and why it matters

The demand for high-level skills is increasing as our economy changes. However, Canadian literacy skills are not keeping up with the demand. This work shows the importance of building and maintaining literacy skills to ensure our workforce has the capacity to thrive in the new economy.

Successful Indigenous resource partnerships

Indigenous people who live on or near Canada’s vast natural resource endowment too often manage poverty, not prosperity. Yet, there are cases where natural resources firms and Indigenous communities have built successful partnerships. Our Natural Resources and Human Capital Centres are collaborating with our Indigenous partners, Name to Place Educational Consulting and Medicine Rope Strategies, to share these success stories. Phase 1, to be completed in early 2018, summarizes what we learned through roundtables with Indigenous leaders and industry about the meaning of success, different approaches, and the factors that contribute to successful partnerships. Phase 2, to be completed in early 2019, will involve “deep-dive” case studies of up to eight individual communities (two in each western province) to determine the factors that contribute (or not) to the success of partnerships with resource development firms, and to better understand the opportunities to use a competency-based approach to employment and entrepreneurship in Indigenous communities.

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Planned research

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