Alberta is a prosperous province, with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and a skilled and energetic workforce. Albertans - like many Canadians - are struggling with transitions between learning and work, which is resulting in social and economic implications. If Alberta is to remain competitive with the rest of Canada, it must adapt to and address the coming labour market disruptions.
Skills gaps can be costly. A 2016 study estimated that unmet skills needs are costing British Columbia up to $7.9 billion in foregone GDP and over $1.8 billion in tax revenues each year (Kachulis and McKean, 2018). While Alberta’s economic outlook is favorable with a low unemployment rate and projected continued economic growth, meeting the demand for skilled workers in the province is essential for ensuring long-term prosperity. Data shows that as of 2019, there were 52,890 (or 2.6%) vacant jobs in Alberta – a figure that does not approach pre-recession levels, but is on an upward trend (Statistics Canada, 2018). Projections developed by the Centre for Spatial Economics confirm, Alberta’s labour shortage is likely to grow to about 49,000 by 2025, with in-demand occupations requiring a variety of skill types and levels (Government of Alberta, 2015).