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Minding the gap?: Ontario postsecondary students’ perceptions on the state of their skills

This is the first step in a multi-year evaluation, in this step the authors sought to understand student perceptions of the state of their skills and their appetite for online skills development. A total of 6,360 Ontario postsecondary students were surveyed and three in-person focus groups conducted; students participating in both activities believe they are developing strength in transferable skills like critical thinking, work ethic, communications and organization/time management, along with industry-specific skills through their postsecondary experience, and they anticipate these skills will be needed in their chosen careers. Survey results suggest students are less certain that professional skills like data analysis, financial literacy and IT skills will be necessary in the workplace, though both focus group participants and survey respondents anticipate business etiquette will be in demand upon graduation. Overall responses suggest that students perceive a gap between the skills they will need for their future careers and the skills they are developing while in university or college.