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Canadians’ shifting outlook on employment: 2020 Survey on Employment and Skills: Preliminary report

The 2020 Survey on Employment and Skills, conducted by the Environics Institute for Survey Research in partnership with the Future Skills Centre and Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, was designed to explore the experiences and attitudes of Canadians relating to education, skills training and employment. The survey, however, was conducted during the period in which the impact of the [Coronavirus Disease 2019] COVID-19 pandemic on Canada became apparent. It therefore offers an early opportunity to explore how Canadians’ outlook initially shifted as the pandemic took hold. The survey confirms that the pandemic caused a significant shift in Canadians’ outlook on employment. It found that Canadians did not lose confidence in themselves or the social safety net as the impact of the pandemic set in, with 63 per cent of Canadians responding that they were confident in their abilities, even after the impact of the pandemic on jobs began to be known, compared to 61 per cent before that time. Confidence was greater among those with higher levels of education and income, with less secure workers less certain they can access the resources they need to weather the pandemic’s employment storm. Workers say skills training contributes to their ability to succeed, but half the Canadian labour force has had no employer-delivered skills training in the last five years, the survey found. Almost one in two Canadian workers said they were very or somewhat worried about themselves or a member of their immediate family finding or keeping a stable, full-time job after the pandemic set in; older workers are less likely to be worried about job security (40 per cent of those 55+, compared to 56 per cent of those aged 25-34); and women (44 per cent) are more likely than men (35 per cent) to say that now is a bad time to find a job where they live.