Jobs, Skills, and the Economy
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Today, “we live in an age of adaptation,” as United Way Toronto’s Nation Cheong described it at the Ontario’s Universities Roundtable on Youth Employment – and Ontarians can feel it. They can see the opportunity that is around the corner as technology continues to transform our workplaces. But they also sense the uncertainty that comes with these changes, and the need to ensure students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, and that Ontario has the strong talent pipeline that will help it thrive.

What We Heard
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Our Top Priorities
Learn more about our strategies for Jobs and Skills and The Economy, including our recommendations for how to ensure Ontario continues developing a strong talent pipeline.
What Ontarians Want
Education that gives students flexible and adaptable skills – such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, teamwork and creativity – to help them thrive throughout their career.
Co-ops, internships, lab work, research projects and other experiential learning opportunities that prepare students for the workforce.
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Partnerships among employers, universities and colleges to boost experiential learning and ensure Ontario continues to have a strong talent pipeline.
Campus programs and supports that ensure students are healthy and engaged.
People that can learn quickly, that can pivot, that can problem solve, to me those are the core skills that our universities and other educational institutions need to be instilling in people.
- Gordon Frost, Partner, Mercer Canada, a human resources consulting firm, at the Ontario’s Universities Roundtable on Innovation and the New Economy
Ontario’s economy is changing as technology grows more advanced and the prospect of automation increases. In these circumstances, talent is Ontario’s greatest asset, and developing skills for the jobs of the future has to be a top priority.
It is the soft skills that are important… the strategic thinking, the ability to distill and communicate information and, in particular, the learning agility.
- Shurjeel Choudhri, Senior Vice-President and Head of Medical and Scientific Affairs at Bayer HealthCare, at the Ontario’s Universities Roundtable on Youth Employment
Employers told us they need workers with core skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communications and creativity: adaptable skills that will help graduates master new technologies and remain highly employable.
I need engineers who understand public policy and I need social workers who understand budgets and finance.
- Peter Wallace, City Manager for the City of Toronto
Employers further told us that Ontario needs workers with broad expertise and a wide set of skills to thrive in the future.
I'm worried that I won't be able to find a job that not only supports me but can support my family as well. I'm worried that I won't be able to fulfill my dream of travelling and experiencing new cultures.
- Student, responding in our survey
Our survey revealed that Ontarians are largely optimistic about the future, but we also heard concerns about job insecurity, about whether there will be enough jobs in the future and whether they will support a good standard of living.
Expanding work-integrated or experiential learning opportunities are essential to the ongoing skills development of our university graduates.
- Ontario Undergraduate Students Association (OUSA)
Students and employers across all sectors agreed that experiential learning is a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to ensuring Ontarians are prepared for the workforce.
We don't know how fast the economy will grow, what new technologies will be developed, or how quickly and consistently employment will expand. What is considerably more certain, however, is that success will continue to be tied to education, in part because a good education enhances one's ability to adapt to a changing economy.
- U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, at the University of Baltimore 2016 Midyear Commencement
And throughout our survey, at all our roundtables, and across our research, we repeatedly heard that one essential ingredient to a talented workforce is a well-rounded postsecondary education.
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Our Top Priorities

Read about our strategies for Jobs and Skills, and The Economy, including our recommendations for how to ensure Ontario continues developing a strong talent pipeline.

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Research and innovation

Learn more about what Ontarians had to say about research and innovation in the province.
read the report

In our report, you will find a comprehensive summary of what we heard from Ontarians and how Ontario's universities are working across all sectors to help students thrive, support our communities, and drive a growing, dynamic province.