Employment in 2030

If you could see into the future, which types of skills and jobs would likely be in demand in the next 10–15 years? Learn about our project exploring employment in and around the year 2030.

Project Team

Diana Rivera
Economist
Yasmin Rajabi
Projects Officer
Jessica Thornton
Collaborator
Heather Russek
Director of Policy Innovation
Tara O’Neil
Futures Researcher
Erin Warner
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Jessica Thomson
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Michelle Park
Projects Manager

Why we’re doing this project

As labour markets evolve, the focus of education and training systems is increasingly on skills that are transferable across a range of occupations and industries, rather than credentials. Workers with in-demand and transferable skills can more easily find new work, “upskill,” or otherwise navigate changes in the labour market over the course of their careers. They are more resilient to what many perceive is an increasing rate of change due to technological innovation.

Governments, educators and employers are investing immense new resources into talent and skills development initiatives across the world, and Canada is no exception. For instance, Ontario’s recent “Career Kick-Start Strategy” announced a $190-million investment over three years in a range of market-focused education and skills development programs such as work-integrated learning, RBC’s Future Launch program has committed $500-million over ten years for youth skills and employment initiatives, and the 2017 Federal Budget included $75-million per year to “establish a new organization to support skills development and measurement.” Combined, these three new initiatives exceed a $180-million annual average in addition to tens of billions in existing expenditure. With such large investments, the labour market information (LMI) required to understand and target these efforts is more critical.

Currently, Canada lacks a holistic, detailed, and actionable forecast of in-demand skills, and the distribution of these skills across geographies, industries, and demographic groups. Governments, educators and Canadians, in general, are seeking a clearer picture of the skills that will help to future-proof workers in the face of complex forces ranging from automation and offshoring to digitalization. The proposed project will help to fill this gap, supporting the design of policies and programs aimed at fostering inclusive economic growth in Canada.

This timely project will feed into the work of the Future Skills Centre, a forward-thinking research centre with a focus on how best to prepare Canadians today for workforce opportunities of the future. Funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program, the Future Skills Centre is a partnership of Ryerson University, the Conference Board of Canada, and Blueprint, and consists of an investment of $225-million over four years and $75-million a year thereafter.

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Our Approach

Our proposed research project will help to fill critical gaps in Canada’s labour market information (LMI) by providing a detailed occupational and skills demand forecast that is responsive to changing labour market conditions across Canada. By harnessing the new data sources and applying a unique combination of futures research, expert forecasts and machine learning algorithms, we will map how the skills composition of labour market demand is likely to change on a 10 to 15-year horizon not only as a result of technological change like automation, but multiple drivers including globalization, climate change, and immigration. This project will be carried out in partnership with Nesta, an innovation foundation based in the United Kingdom (UK) that has previously piloted this research methodology in the UK and United States.

Over the next two years, this research will take place in a series of stages:

  • Futures Research: Beginning in the fall of 2018, we’re conducting futures research to map the trends and drivers of change impacting Canada’s labour market in the next 10 – 15 years, which will be released in early 2019.
  • Forecast Workshops + Survey: Our futures research will be the basis of workshops held in six Canadian locations throughout the spring of 2019. These workshops will engage experts to forecast changes to the demand of occupations in 2030.
  • Machine Learning Modelling: The input gathered in our cross-country workshops will form the training data required for the machine learning algorithms. This will allow us to project changes across the entire labour market, which we’ll make available in early 2020.
  • Data Visualization + Open Data: We are committed to making the data we collect publicly available, so that others can build off this work.
  • Research Reports: As usual, we also intend to document our process as we go, sharing key insights along the way in the form of a research reports, blogs and more.

Key Research Objectives

  • Provide a skills forecast to Canadian educators, policymakers, workers and firms with granular, actionable information on demand for skills and occupations in 10 to 15 years.
  • Outline the risks and opportunities faced by Canadian workers and firms across skill sets, geographies, ages, incomes, and other demographic characteristics.
  • Inform the future design of education, training, and economic development policies and programs, as well as modern social safety nets.

Our Funders

This project is made possible thanks to funding from the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiative Program and the Max Bell Foundation.

Our Partners

This work will be carried out in partnership with Nesta, in conjunction with local convening partners, including Canada West Foundation, SFU Public Square, the Newfoundland and Labrador Workforce Innovation Centre (NLWIC) at CNA, Percolab, and Yukon College with more to be added.

Our Advisory Committee

To produce the best possible work, we have convened a steering committee to advise on the project. The committee will provide guidance on scope, execution, outputs, and outcomes. Members were recruited from across Canada, representing different perspectives, regions and stakeholder groups. Members include:

  • Steven Tobin, Labour Market Information Council (LMIC)
  • Janet Lane, Canada West Foundation
  • Janet Weber, SFU Public Square
  • Stephen Johnson, Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Colette Murphy, Atkinson Foundation
  • Denise Williams, First Nations Technology Council (FNTC)
  • Lauren Beille, Yukon College
  • Sharon McLennon, the Newfoundland and Labrador Workforce Innovation Centre (NLWIC) at CNA
  • Philippe Schneider, Researcher, Nesta
Diana Rivera
Economist
Yasmin Rajabi
Projects Officer
Jessica Thornton
Collaborator
Heather Russek
Director of Policy Innovation
Tara O’Neil
Futures Researcher
Erin Warner
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Jessica Thomson
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Michelle Park
Projects Manager

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Deep Dive

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Aug 19, 2019

A look at how a range of experts across Canada are thinking about the future of employment, as well as which trends they believe are most likely to create change
Signs of the Times: Expert insights about employment in 2030

Aug 8, 2019

For our ongoing Employment in 2030 project, we want to know which skills and jobs will likely be in demand in 10–15 years. But with 500+ occupations in Canada, learn which jobs we focused on and why.
Farmers, Clerks, and Engineers: A look at how we selected the occupations informing our forecast of employment in 2030

Aug 6, 2019

To better understand the skills, knowledge, and abilities that make up the 500 national occupations in Canada, we created a crosswalk to apply US data in a Canadian context
Connecting the Dots: Linking Canadian occupations to skills data

Jul 16, 2019

For this next phase of our work on employment in 2030, learn why we gathered a diverse group of 120+ people in workshops across Canada to share their expertise in labour market trends
How to design a workshop for the future of employment
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