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Canada’s Youth Due for a Skills Update to Prepare for Future Opportunities

New report takes a hard look at the skills required to land entry-level jobs.

TORONTO, December 17, 2018 – With as many one in five youth in jobs at high risk of being affected by automation in the coming years, a new report says a future approach to workforce development needs to focus on strengthening foundational skills for Canada’s youth and using new sources of data to spot where opportunities exist.

Released today by CivicAction, in partnership with LinkedIn Canada and Knockri, Now Hiring: The Skills Companies Want that Young Canadians Need, identifies six foundational skills—communication, growth mindset, collaboration, empathy, and creativity, along with digital literacy—that are widely sought after by employers. Human skills like empathy and creativity are among the hardest for technology to mimic and therefore, are expected to be more in-demand in the future. Across the sectors identified, communication was also the number one base-line skill employers are looking for.

“Ironically, some of the hardest skills to acquire are the softer ones—many of which can’t be outsourced to technology,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction. “If young people have opportunities to download new skills and double-click on current opportunities, we can keep our future workforce engaged and employed.”

The Now Hiring report acts as an updated career counsellor for youth and those providing employment services, identifying five sectors with the most entry-level opportunities—retail, health care and social assistance, finance and insurance, skilled trades, and technology. Based on the findings of Now Hiring, we have a potential roadmap that includes creating micro training that reflects employers’ changing needs, motivating youth to strengthen their foundational skills to help future proof their employability, and adopting hiring practices that assess skills over credentials.

To download Now Hiring: The Skills Companies Want that Young Canadians Need, visit

Informed by the findings of Now Hiring, CivicAction has created a pilot project called SkillsConnect to demystify the world of work for young people and give them access to curated curriculum on LinkedIn Learning based on the skills we now know employers are looking for at the entry-level. For employers, CivicAction’s HireNext is a free and tailored online assessment and manual for hiring, onboarding and recruiting young diverse talent including recommendations to help employers move towards skills-based hiring.

“People have embraced technology in most aspects of life and that experience has grown in expectations for the companies they interact with to do the same. Technology, combined with the right people-powered skills, will allow us to deliver simple, intuitive and personalized products and services that meet our client’s needs. As a result, Manulife is transforming our business to become a customer-centric market leader, which includes a focus on digital innovation and operational efficiency to ensure we remain competitive.” – Greg Framke, Executive Vice President & CIO at Manulife


Our thanks to Cision for sponsoring this announcement.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Jeff Junke
Communications Manager
Office: (416) 309 4480 x 533
Cell: 647-471-9957

About the report’s methodology:

The report was completed by analyzing thousands of job descriptions in Ontario posted between 2014 and 2017 that required 1) a high-school education with no additional certification, and 2) zero to two years of experience, to identify where the greatest number of entry-level opportunities exist. This data was validated with LinkedIn’s 2016 Economic Graph, research on foundational skills from Knockri, and traditional labour market data.

About CivicAction

Complex challenges need an all hands on deck approach, and collective impact is what CivicAction does best. As a premier civic engagement organization in Canada we have nearly two decades of experience creating and implementing effective solutions to the most pressing challenges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and beyond. To find out more visit or follow @CivicActionGTHA.

Building on a decade of high-impact and award-winning leadership programming, CivicAction launched the CivicAction Leadership Foundation to further elevate and catalyze our region’s leadership potential. With a focus on advancing education, the Foundation harnesses the power of diverse leaders and empowers and activates all voices to influence and shape our region. For more information visit

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