A playbook to connect people looking for jobs with employers looking for people

A playbook to connect people looking for jobs with employers looking for people

To cut straight to the heart of our research, we’ve created a playbook for policymakers, workforce developers, employers, and service providers to identify transitions from declining to growing jobs
A playbook to connect people looking for jobs with employers looking for people
Annalise Huynh
Policy Analyst + Designer
October 23, 2019
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Upskilling mid-career workers has emerged as a major policy priority. However, many existing programs take a one-size-fits-all approach that often doesn’t consider local demand or the interests and needs of specific job seekers and employers. Even without taking concerns surrounding job disruption into account, job searching—and supporting job seekers—is complicated. While certain jobs may be declining, it’s difficult to know how to help those experiencing job loss find occupations that fit their particular skills and knowledge. 

Our new report, Lost and Found: Pathways from disruption to employment, presents a model that uses labour market information to identify potential pathways from declining jobs to ones that are growing. To cut straight to the heart of our research, we created a playbook for policymakers, workforce developers, employers, and service providers who are looking to explore how this model could be applied in different use cases. The result is a tool we think will be a valuable jumping-off point for those responsible for designing retraining programs, digital tools, and support services.

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What labour market information can tell us (and what it can’t)

Using available labour market information, our model starts with identifying the skills that specific jobs have in common, and then layers on other factors that reflect whether a job match is suitable—such as which jobs are declining and growing in an area, whether growing jobs are locally available, and which offer competitive wages. But while these factors provide a helpful starting point for identifying possible job pathways, the data doesn’t capture the considerable number other factors at play for those actually experiencing job loss and/or making job transitions.

Skills training alone may not be the answer

Skills training is often viewed as the ideal approach for addressing the challenges that workers face. Current workforce development programs and policies are largely underpinned by the assumption that once people acquire certain skills, they can secure jobs that will allow them to be productive and earn a living wage. But programs that focus solely on skills training—in particular those aimed at more vulnerable segments of the population—often fall short when it comes to helping workers secure gainful long-term employment. Programs that focus on minimizing barriers to job seeking and employment, such as lack of access to networks and challenges posed by lack of traditional signs of hireability, like Palette Inc., or on targeted personal and financial supports, such as Project QUEST, are few and far between. 

Moving from one-size-fits-all to solutions that work for specific workers and employers

Beyond skills match and likelihood of automation, designing successful training or talent-matching programs requires an understanding of numerous considerations. These range from occupational licensing and credential requirements to the physical and mental well-being of job seekers, how employers recruit people, and someone’s capacity and willingness to take on certain kinds of work, embark on a retraining journey, or move to a new location. 

In order to ensure that these considerations are reflected in any program, service, or tool meant to support job transitions, a data-based approach needs to be paired with consultation with workers, employers, educators, and service providers. Enabling people to make successful job transitions will need new solutions and partnerships as well as a process of evaluation and iteration.

What’s next?

Connecting workers looking for jobs with employers isn’t simple, but it can be done. Making these connections requires new approaches that are both driven by data and centred around people. We hope you find our work useful!  If you have suggestions on how we can improve our playbook or tweak our model, or questions about how to use them, we’d love to hear from you.  

We’ll continue to iterate on this work to ensure that skills fit as well as individual- and employer-level factors are addressed as comprehensively as possible. To do that, we’re planning a subsequent phase of human-centred design research that will focus on worker and job seeker experiences to zero in on how job transitions pan out for different people. If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Annalise Huynh (annalise.huynh@gmail.com) and Sarah Doyle (sarah.doyle@ryerson.ca).

For media enquiries, please contact Coralie D’Souza, Director of Communications, Events + Community Relations at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

Annalise Huynh
Policy Analyst + Designer
October 23, 2019
Print Page

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