The Challenge of Finding Skilled Labour

We are facing an impending labour shortage.

Canada is facing an increasing skills gap, in which the need for skilled workers exceeds the supply. Finding skilled labour has become more challenging than ever. Without literacy and essential skills, potential employees may not be able to fill out a job application, let alone understand job training, or gain critical safety certifications.

B.C. needs skilled workers

It is vital for B.C.’s prosperity now and into the future that adults continue to learn and upgrade their skills, young people receive valuable training, and children develop a solid foundation of literacy and essential skills to carry them forward into their careers.

  • 100,000 construction jobs are expected to be available in B.C. and Alberta in the next five years [1].
  • Canada’s mining sector will require more than 100,000 mostly skilled hires in the next decade to sustain moderate growth [2].
  • From 2010 to 2020, 78% of job openings are likely to require some post-secondary education and training or a university degree [3].


Immigration will increase the need for literacy & essential skills services

British Columbia needs immigration to supply some of the skilled workers over the next decade. Improving the language skills of those immigrants whose first language is not English will be the key to unlocking their full potential.

  • Forecasts indicate that 36 percent of job openings over the next decade will need to be filled by skilled workers from outside British Columbia [3].
  • Over 50% of adult immigrants in 2008 arrived with a university degree and nearly 25% arrived with some other form of post-secondary education or training (diploma or trades training); however, newcomer English proficiencies are often low, and this contributes to their underemployment [4].
  • More than 40% of people with low English language skills in BC are immigrants [4].
  • 60% of immigrants with a first language other than English have literacy levels below a high-school graduate [5].


Workplace Education Programs increase skills and job satisfaction

Workplace education programs can help current employees gain the literacy and essential skills to grow into new and needed areas. In addition, workplace education increases employee satisfaction and reduces turnover, saving businesses money:

  • Employees who receive workplace training are more likely to stay [6].
  • Of people who are satisfied with their employer and their job role:
    • 87% are committed to their organization
    • 90% want to be in their organization for the next year
    • 78% plan to be with the organization for the next 3 years [7]


Literacy and essential skills is a business strategy that works

Investments in literacy and essential skills create successful individuals, sustainable businesses and prosperous communities. Contact Decoda today to discuss how investing in literacy can help your business and your community.

Works Cited:

1.  Jeffrey, Peter. “Training out of touch with business.” Vancouver Sun. Vancouver Sun, 25 March 2012. 

2. Mining Industry Human Resources Council. Canadian mining industry employment and hiring forecasts 2011: a mining industry workforce information network report. Kanata, Ontario: Mining Industry Human Resources Council, 2011. p.9. Available from

3. British Columbia. Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development. Skills for growth: British Columbia’s labour market strategy to 2020. [Victoria, B.C.]: Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development, 2010. p.3, 6.

4. British Columbia. Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. Challenges and opportunities: British Columbia’s labour market future, November 2009. [Victoria, B.C.]: Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, 2009. p.35.

5. Hunter, Emily, and Kate Trethewey. (2009). Learning together: a guide to community-based adult ESL and literacy in British Columbia. Vancouver: Literacy BC. p.11.

6. Jamrog, Jay J. “Current practices: the coming decade of the employee.” People and Strategy 25.3 (2002): 5-11. p.8.

7. YouGov. The role of reward in happiness in the workplace. [London]: YouGov, 2007. p.2.