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‘Soft’ skills key for young people looking for work, says study

By Josh Rubin
Published in the Toronto Star

Looking for a job, kid?

Try a store, a bank, a hospital or an IT company.

Those sectors are the best bets for youth looking for an entry-level position, according to a study which is being released Monday by CivicAction.


There are more than 860,000 youth across Canada who aren’t working, studying or in some form of training, the CivicAction study found. That’s not just a problem for the youth who are directly affected, but for society at large, argued [Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction].

And it can be measured in dollars and cents, not just moral outrage.

“There’s a societal cost to having someone remain unemployed,” said Palvetzian. The study estimated that if one of those young people stays unemployed for their entire life, it would cost Canadian society up to $1 million.


The CivicAction study also used online data to come up with the skills employers are looking for. Top of the list? Communication.

While dealing with customers at a shop or bank (or patients in a hospital) are obvious situations where communication is vital, it’s also crucial in Canada’s burgeoning tech sector. The stereotype of a socially awkward IT professional stuck in a back office somewhere no longer holds true — if it ever did.

One big reason strong communication skills are important is they won’t become outdated no matter how much technology changes, Palvetzian said.

“These are things that are the least susceptible to technological disruption,” Palvetzian said.

Next year, the information and communication technology sector will have 182,000 job openings across the country, with more than 40 per cent of those openings in Ontario.

Read the full article or dive into Now Hiring: The Skills Companies Want that Young Canadians Need.

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