Vice-president, sales solutions and Canada country manager, LinkedIn Canada.

The rapid pace of technological change is transforming the way we work, with powerful new tools and technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation dramatically changing the skills required to be successful. In fact, some studies estimate as much as 50 per cent of Canadian jobs will be disrupted by automation in the next 10 years.

This technological change makes it difficult for schools, governments and business leaders to prepare today’s youth for the jobs of tomorrow. So, what can we be doing to help the next generation future-proof their careers?

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Use data to better anticipate (and train for) future in-demand skills

According to a 2018 Royal Bank of Canada research paper, Humans Wanted – How Canadian youth can thrive in the age of disruption, there are two types of skills employees need the most: digital literacy and soft skills. Digital literacy doesn’t necessarily mean all employees need to learn how to code. Rather, it’s the ability to use technology effectively and learn how to use new tools quickly, adapting to changes that will inevitably occur. We’ve also found in our 2018 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report that training for soft skills such as leadership, communication and collaboration is the No. 1 priority for talent-development teams.

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Through a recent collaboration with eCampusOntario and Ontario’s provincial government, more than one million postsecondary students in Ontario now have access to Lynda.com’s online courses to train and equip them with the digital and soft skills they need to find success in our changing economy.

Share insights to close opportunity gaps

In 2011, three times as many youth were employed in occupations at high risk of being disrupted by automation than in low-risk occupations, according to the Brookfield Institute’s Future-proof: Preparing young Canadians for the future of work report. The report also showed that a startlingly low 34 per cent of employers feel that youth are actually adequately prepared for the workforce.

One of the best ways to prepare young professionals is by sharing insights that can help them better navigate their career paths. Enter LinkedIn’s Economic Graph – a digital map of the global economy that provides unique and valuable insights into workforce trends. Seneca College recently used LinkedIn’s Toronto data on hiring and skills to design short-term, skills-based training to prepare unemployed and underemployed youth for jobs in the tech sector.

These insights can also be used to guide employee reskilling or relocation, employer searches for hidden talent pools, curriculum choices in educational institutions and workforce development and policy, ultimately creating opportunities for the youth facing barriers in our region.

Hit refresh on professional networking

While today’s youth may be social-media savvy, they may not be leveraging online platforms as a way to network professionally. As employers are increasingly looking online to find and vet their candidates, young professionals who aren’t building and maintaining their online résumés are missing out on vital connections. This online presence is no longer just a nice-to-have in today’s job market; it’s a need-to-have.

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And that’s why LinkedIn Canada worked with CivicAction in support of their annual YouthConnect conference this summer. This event helps educate Canada’s youth on the most in-demand skills in today’s jobs market and also provides direct access to a curated skills curriculum on LinkedIn Learning that enables them to acquire those skills. Additionally, attendees will learn how to develop their online profiles, search for jobs and build their networks.

There are already too many young people – more than 800,000 in Canada – who are disconnected from employment opportunities and every professional and leader has a role to play in helping to close this divide. The work being done by organizations such as CivicAction is helping to put the right pieces in place to pave a better path for Canada’s young people and to make this kind of sea change. Getting this right will be a defining issue of our time.

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