What are skills vacancies?
When an employer wants to fill a vacant job, they are really looking for a set of skills to help them complete specific tasks. Until that employer can recruit a new employee, they don’t have access to the skills they need. So job vacancies can actually be thought of as skill-set vacancies: an unmet need for particular skills.
Right now in Canada, skills vacancies represent $25 billion in unrealized economic value, an increase from $15 billion in 2015. Rising job vacancy numbers, higher wages, and changes in the types of available jobs have all contributed to this increase.
Our research examines skill deficiencies in the workforce, what those skills are worth, and how much economic value is being lost, to help illuminate the needs and requirements for Canadian labour, education, and immigration policy-makers.
- When an employer is looking to fill a vacant job, what they are really looking for is a set of skills to complete a series of tasks. The unrealized value of skill vacancies in the Canadian economy hit $25 billion in 2020. Measured as a share of the economy, this unrealized value equalled 1.33 per cent of GDP.
- The six most highly valued skill vacancies are active listening, critical thinking, reading comprehension, speaking, monitoring, and coordination. Vacancies related to each of these skills currently cost the Canadian economy $1 billion or more annually in unrealized value owing to unfilled job vacancies.
- Providing valuations of these costs among the occupations allows policy-makers and educators to prioritize investments.
When an employer is looking to fill a vacant job, what they are really looking for is a set of skills to complete a series of tasks. So, job vacancies can be thought of as skill-set vacancies, or as unfilled skills demand
The unrealized value of skill vacancies in the Canadian economy rose from $15 billion in 2015 to $25 billion in 2020. Rising job vacancy numbers and wage rates, as well as changes in the mix of jobs with vacancies, all contributed to this increase.
Measured as a share of the economy, this unrealized value increased from 0.85 per cent of GDP to 1.33 per cent—an important metric for understanding the impact of skill vacancies on prosperity and growth. This increase partially reflects the decline in GDP in 2020 due to COVID-19.