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Smart Measures to Utilize the Potential of Canada's Skilled Workforce

December 2017, 27
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The recent census figures suggest that Canada possesses a competitive advantage in the modern information-driven international economy. The factor responsible for this being 54 percent of the citizens of Canada, aged between the 25 and 64 years are qualified by studying in a college or university. This is a significant leap from 48 percent seen in 2006. Moreover, it is the highest in any OECD nation.

The question to ask here is whether Canadians' investments in higher education pay off for the society or for themselves, and their employers.

The answer lies in looking beyond the numbers and examining how the knowledge and skills of the workers' are utilized and developed.

The well-educated workforce, places a high standard for employers, in adopting practices to manage the talent. Finding the finest way to convert human capital, into a productive potential in workplaces, is a major challenge for employers today.

Research shows that productivity of workers is directly related to their skills and knowledge. To release this potential, their jobs and workplaces must facilitate full application and expansion of their capabilities.

There is a need to close the gap between the capabilities they possess and what they use in their jobs.

As per the OECD Survey measuring Adult Skills, one in four workers in Canada were overqualified for their jobs and one-tenth of them had a high level of literacy than required.

When the talent is underutilized low wages and reduced job satisfaction happen. It affects productivity and leads to low GDP growth. Eventually, workers lose these capabilities possessed by them when they remain unused in their job.

When the capability gap is closed skills will not go waste, and contribute to enhanced productivity and satisfied workforce, besides contributing to high earnings.

Surveys have proved that the practices used by employers in talent-management have failed to keep pace with increased educational levels.

When the workers learn often or always able they contribute their skills and knowledge, and take initiatives in their job.

The ability to use co-operative skills, persuasion, task discretion and processing information, create a major positive impact on wages. The factors influencing workers to contribute their skills and knowledge are team-based work, sharing information, constant learning, and bonus given on performance, more flexibility and autonomy to organize their time/work.

At present, there is no sense of urgency in the Canadian workers to improve innovation or productivity through redesigning their jobs.

Many workers did not give importance to decision-making and job autonomy being the two key ingredients of a top workplace. They expressed a desire for great job responsibility and felt happy when the work was interesting, varied and challenging.

When the organizations develop more flexibility, they require making frequent adjustments depending on the input given by workers. Presently, the unemployment rate of Canada is below 6 percent, and the competition for talent will grow intensely.

Tapping the existing talent pool is an effective way to retain staff, and increase their engagement to achieve better performance.

Closing the capability gap is central to the talent-management strategy.

Through these measures, Canada will be a top-educated country and reap rich dividends of prosperity and improved quality of life.

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