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The future of work in the era of demographic, digital and green transitions

This is a translation. Please click here for the original blog post in French.

The employment landscape is changing, facing three major transitions: demographic, digital and climate. These transitions will permanently transform the job profile and the skills required to succeed. These include fewer routine tasks, the breakdown of tasks, and the emergence of new occupations that are more difficult to automate, while others will evolve or even cease to exist. 

Upgrading the skills and talent of the workforce is also a major issue that companies and people in paid employment must focus on to ensure that no one is left behind. 

The Quebec context 

Tackling these challenges implies a shared responsibility between the main players involved: the organizations, the workforce, the educational networks and the community players in employability. The Commission des partenaires du marché du travail (CPMT) convened a virtual forum on reskilling the changing workforce in 2020 where various stakeholders had the opportunity to make their voices heard. Here are some examples of the problems facing the Quebec labour market and the solutions proposed by the CPMT.

Firstly, the digital sector is expanding rapidly in Quebec. Between 2019 and 2020, almost 10,000 new jobs were created. To access these new jobs in the sector, Quebec must meet its training demand. To meet the need for computer programmers, the CPMT funds, for example, the 42 Québec project, which aims to provide training for qualified programmers using a peer learning approach. 

Moreover, more than ever, the need to requalify the workforce as well as to create jobs in the sustainable and green economy, is imperative; the CPMT’s“Green Economy and Digital Transition” request for proposals aims in particular to finance training projects that support the green transformation of companies. 

Finally, since the emergence of the pandemic, the people most affected by unemployment are those with low skills. To help facilitate this reskilling, the CPMT offers a program to finance a work-study program, the Short Term Training Program (STP), which allows the financing of the salary of employees during the training hours. 

Leveraging collaboration

The recent agreement signed between the CPMT and the Future Skills Centre (FSC) will allow for the support of projects that will enable the piloting of new strategies necessary for the development of future skills in the Quebec workforce. This will allow the CPMT and CCF to help the organizations and the workforce make informed choices about the skills that will be needed to meet the demographic, digital, and climate transitions that are transforming the landscape of work. 

This collaboration has resulted in three calls for proposals, focused on the specific needs of the Quebec labour market : 

  • First, the implementation of the Quebec Future Skills Framework aims to launch the implementation of the Quebec Future Skills Framework in a context where the future of skills will play a central role in the Quebec economy. This framework includes 10 non-technical skills plus literacy and numeracy as “essential skills” and ultimately provides a common language on which to build the upgrading of these skills. 
  • Secondly, retention and integration of groups underrepresented in the labour market address the integration and retention of groups underrepresented in the labour market. This request for proposals aims to explore new ways of doing things, improve knowledge on the subject and facilitate cooperation between the various players in the labour market.
  • Finally, strengthening the presence of women in STEM jobs aims to increase the presence of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs to promote their participation, retention, and advancement in employment by supporting the creation of inclusive workplaces in these sectors.

This agreement will make it possible to better share Quebec’s learnings with the rest of Canada and to keep abreast of the experiences of other Canadian provinces. 

Preparing for the future

To successfully navigate through these major disruptions in the world of employment, we must put people at the core of our decisions and focus on the following actions in particular: 1) document the changes and their effects on individuals and organizations; 2) allow individuals and organizations to anticipate and measure the skill gaps and opportunities to improve their employability; 3) intensify the development of a culture of continuous training within organizations (to enhance and requalify the workforce); 4) develop an innovative, flexible and qualifying training offer, adapted to the reality of individuals and companies; and 5) mobilize employment ecosystems at the national, sectoral and regional levels to coordinate winning strategies for all. 

Not everyone is equal when facing the accelerating change in the work landscape. The social dialogue between all stakeholders and the harmonization of the actions to be taken by each one is both necessary and unavoidable. 

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint, official policy or position of the Future Skills Centre or any of its staff members or consortium partners.