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Are Canadian jobs more or less skilled than American jobs?

Canadian workers are generally more skilled than American workers in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in a technology‑rich environment (Statistics Canada 2013). However, workers who possess certain skills are not guaranteed to employ those skills in their job. Furthermore, workers may employ many other skills in the workplace (Frenette and Frank 2017). This study compares the skill requirements of actual jobs held by workers in Canada and in the United States. In total, 35 job skills are examined. The study finds that the skill level required in Canadian jobs is significantly higher than for American jobs in 30 of the 35 areas examined. The Canadian advantage is particularly large in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other technology‑related skill areas. In these areas, the relatively larger proportion of non‑university graduates in engineering, manufacturing and construction, and the higher numeracy proficiency in Canada account for almost all of the gap in skill level. The one group facing lower skill requirements in Canada is university graduates. In general, the jobs that they hold require lower reading comprehension, writing, social and management skills compared to their counterparts in the United States. Some implications for future research are discussed.