Measuring and Tackling Mismatches
Edited by Michael Neugart and Klaus Schömann
Chapter 3: Forecasting Future Skill Needs in Canada
Douglas A. Smith1 1 INTRODUCTION Concerns about the future labour market and job matching are not conﬁned to academic economists and policymakers. An article by US syndicated columnist George Will (Internet version of Washington Post article published 25 April 1999) is entitled ‘A Glut of Ph.D.s’. This is not a formal occupational forecast but Will’s assessment of the market situation for recent Ph.D. graduates in modern languages and a series of related disciplines. Their labour market problems are contrasted with the active demand for graduates in science and engineering. Could better occupational projections at the time that these graduates entered their programmes have prevented this apparent misallocation of resources? How are projections of occupational imbalances made and how do these relate to the labour market policy process and to individual labour market decisions? This chapter describes the Canadian approach to labour market forecasting. Since the formation in 1969 of the Department of Manpower, Canada has devoted considerable resources to various approaches to occupational forecasting. The current Canadian initiatives have their roots in the Report of the Task Force on Labour Market Development (1982). A detailed analysis of labour market shortages and the provision of information related to training needs can be found in the Economic Council of Canada’s publication entitled In Short Supply (1982). These reports pointed out the need for more training and more labour market information. The report of the Economic Council of Canada devoted the most attention to issues of market failure relating to the underprovision...
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