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What Are Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions Saying and Doing? Social and Emotional Skills

Canadian post-secondary institutions are not prioritizing social and emotional skills acquisition for students, despite their growing importance to employers. More emphasis must be placed on ensuring students develop these skills.

Key Takeaways

1

Despite strong employer demand for social and emotional skills (SES) like creativity and problem-solving, post-secondary institutions (PSIs) as a whole aren’t prioritizing them.

2

Only one in five post-secondary strategic plans mention holistic SES development.

3

To prepare students for career success, PSIs must give more weight to social and emotional skills development. To do this, they need to translate SES priorities into applied training and assessment.

Executive Summary

Employers in Canada are increasingly seeking new hires with well-developed social and emotional skills (SES) and are moving away from hiring and rewarding workers based on their technical skills.

However, Canadian post-secondary institutions (PSIs) have not caught up with this shift. A review and analysis of PSIs’ strategic plans reveals a lack of emphasis on student acquisition of SES, with such instruction largely relegated to elective and extra-curricular activities. This issue is common to both universities and colleges.

PSIs must do more to equip graduates with the social and emotional skills they will need to succeed and thrive in the workplaces of today and tomorrow, and this focus must begin at the strategic level.

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