Research summary - Future skills in the labour market

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Official title: From occupational projections to competency projections: expanding the information provided by the Canadian Occupational Projection System

Author of report: Mathieu Roussel-Lewis

Why this study

The Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) identifies (at the national level) jobs that could be in:

  • labour shortage, or
  • labour surplus over the medium term

The goal of this project is to:

  • add information to COPS on skills and abilities required by occupation, and
  • provide a better understanding of the skills needed in the labour market

We can use these findings to inform:

  • job seekers, or
  • workforce training programs

What we did

The U.S. Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database can tell us which skills and abilities each occupation needs. We combined this with a correspondence table between the occupational classification systems of the United States and Canada. A range of analyses becomes possible with this extra information added to COPS. For example, we can expect projected employment needs by finding out the required skills and abilities.

This allows us to compare the amount of skill needed in fields that COPS projects to face labour shortage or surplus conditions. We can then decide which skills or abilities are more or less in demand in these occupations.

What we found

Occupations likely to face labour market shortages seem to need:

  • intellectual skills or abilities, and
  • social skills or abilities, but not
  • manual skills or abilities

What it means

Results on skills and ability requirements will become part of the future updates of the COPS projections. They can also help inform policy decisions. For example, intellectual or social skills seem likely to be more in demand in the future.

Contact us

Strategic and Service Policy Branch, Economic Policy, Labour Market and Skills Research.


Page details

Date modified: