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In late 2021, Canada’s unemployment rate sat at 6 per cent – slightly above the prepandemic level of 5.7 per cent – yet job vacancies in Canada in the third quarter reached an all-time high.

While many of these vacancies were in sectors such as construction, food and accommodation, retail and manufacturing – industries hit hard by lockdowns – the pandemic has also had a dramatic impact on the pace of digital transformation, increasing the demand for technology skills.

That’s why Jeremy Shaki, founder and chief executive officer of online tech skills educator Lighthouse Labs, says skills-based hiring and skills-based learning is on the rise.

“When it comes to technology, there is a huge skills gap. So employers aren’t just looking for the manager; they’re looking for people with particular sets of skills that are hard to find,” Mr. Shaki says.

Mr. Shaki says that organizations like Lighthouse Labs aren’t meant to replace traditional institutions offering four-year degrees, but boot camps and programs can help professionals gain the specific skills they need to fill gaps at their company or even transition toward a new career.

While the company has always attracted professionals, Mr. Shaki says the pandemic has somewhat shifted its clientele.

“Where we really see the difference is people with higher barriers, underrepresented audiences, people who’ve been highly effective by COVID, and a lot of the underemployed,” he says.

In 2021, the company conducted a survey of more than 1,000 professionals, which showed 57 per cent of Canadians would change careers if they had the opportunity. Those who self-identified as a member of a marginalized group were even more likely to jump at the opportunity, including women (60 per cent), LGBTQ people (83 per cent), Black Canadians (80 per cent) and Indigenous people (74 per cent).

However, not everyone wants to leave their organization, and reskilling presents an opportunity not just for employees, but employers too. Reskilling of the workforce can help reduce training and hiring costs, boost retention rates and improve a company’s reputation – all factors to consider as companies navigate rising attrition rates.

Mr. Shaki says online, skills-based learning has offered more opportunity to more people, especially as companies look to hire remote talent.

“We have people from all over the country taking our programs and connecting with jobs outside of their own locations, which is really exciting because it allows our industry to grow and it doesn’t preclude the fact that someone in Newfoundland could be working for a company in Toronto,” he says.

With big banks like TD looking to hire 2,000 technology experts this year alone, skills-based hiring, and the desire to learn new skills, will continue to be top of mind for Canadians.

What I’m reading around the web

  • If you’re looking for an interesting way to break your bad habits, take 60 seconds to read this piece in Harvard Business Review. It highlights how you can use a “Yes List” as a quick way to hold yourself accountable and track your progress.
  • As the author of the article states, “It’s only natural now for life’s big questions to come knocking at your door,” after all that we’ve been through in the past few years. If you’re still trying to figure out the next step for your career, try out this 30-day challenge in Entrepreneur.
  • You’ve got the technical skills, but you still can’t land the job. If this sounds familiar, dive into this article from CNBC that outlines the top three soft skills employers are looking for, according to career experts.
  • Here’s what the current job market shift means for your career, according to Forbes. This article outlines who’s quitting and what that means, how companies are reacting, and what you can expect for the future job market.

This is the weekly Careers newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you, you can sign up for Globe Careers and all Globe newsletters here.

Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

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