CIBC report warns of education/skills gap
Urges post-secondary changes, says students going where money is — not where need is
A CIBC economics report warns that Canada’s post-secondary institutions need to change their ways to begin producing enough graduates with the right skills to drive future economic growth.
Authors Benjamin Tal and Royce Mendes say a new CIBC online poll shows Canadian students are becoming more pragmatic in choosing careers where their skills will be needed.
The survey shows a 30 per cent rise in university enrolments in high-paying careers such as business and the so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) in the decade leading up to 2015.
But it adds those programs have seen fee inflation that’s almost double the pace of other courses, leaving students with greater levels of debt entering the workforce.
The CIBC study also suggests Canada’s post-secondary system isn’t flexible enough and forces students to choose between university and college. Ontario offers 45 joint college/university programs, but only eight per cent of Canadian students are enrolled in such a dual system.
“The cost of that mismatch (between education availability and need) is already visible in both disappointing youth employment conditions and the rising share of Canadians earning below average incomes,” the report concludes.
“Those vulnerabilities will be fully exposed in the next economic downturn. The time to act is now.”
The study is based on an online poll July 27 to Aug. 2 with 1,506 full- or part-time students. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys can’t be assigned a margin of error because they don’t randomly sample population.
A CIBC study suggests the post-secondary system isn’t flexible enough.