There has been much talk lately of a ‘skills shortage’ in Canada – as employers struggle to fill their jobs at the same time as many people are looking for work. Earlier this month we looked at the 12 skills Canadian employers are having the most difficulty hiring for right now.

Just this week, the team over at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario analyzed the content of hundreds of entry-level job postings on Workopolis as well as other sites to determine which skills are mentioned most frequently – and how often they appear.

It turns out that Canadian employers are clearly looking to hire people who can could work well with others, have effective oral communication skills (especially in English, but often who are also bilingual) and who have strong computer skills.

The 13 skills appearing most often in job postings:

Working with others – 93%

Team work, collaboration, working with others is the most frequently requested skill appearing in Canadian job postings, turning up in fully 93% of all job openings.

Oral communication – 84%

Oral communication, expressing ideas and opinions clearly and effectively in English is the second most commonly sought-after skill to appear in job advertisements, with 84% of employers mentioning it. (A frequent addition to oral communication skills is the ability to communicate in a second language, most commonly French.)

Computer Use – 74%

While ‘computer use’ doesn’t turn up in job postings in those exact words, references to using computers, common software programs, and other forms of technology combined become the third most frequently mentioned skill, appearing in 74% of all job postings.

Administrative and organizational skills – 64%

Administrative and organizational skills – the ability to manage duties through efficient planning, time management, detail orientation and prioritization, as well as budgeting, and file management make up the fourth most sought-after skillset. These abilities turn up in 64% of advertised job openings.

Document use – 58%

Document use – research and writing, as well as grammar, word processing, and spreadsheet abilities come in as the fifth most requested skills by Canadian employers. These abilities as well as a few others related to the creation, transmission, and management of files appear in 58% of job ads.

Eight other skills most commonly listed in online job postings:

    Results/goal-oriented 14%
    Energetic 9%
    Positive attitude 9%
    Reliable/dependable 8%
    Flexible 7%
    Driven 6%
    Entrepreneurial 5%
    Quick learner 5%

This research was done by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario for a report called ‘The Great Skills Divide / Bridging the Divide‘ released earlier this week. The report also included interesting hiring trends such as three-quarters of employers saying that they would not consider candidates without previous work experience – even for entry-level positions.

Almost all job postings specifically request some form of postsecondary education, nearly 50% of employers didn’t care whether the credential comes from a college or university – what field the candidate has studied.

See also:

  • The twelve skills that Canadian employers are having the most difficulty hiring right now
  • The most common job titles advertised for candidates with no work experience
  • 15 in-demand jobs in Canada that are waiting to be filled right now
  • The only skill that really matters in your resume
  • _______

    Peter Harris
    Peter Harris on Twitter