Why we’re doing this project

Emerging evidence shows that workers who are displaced from their jobs, or facing disruption, have many of the skills and abilities to fill existing demand in other roles. However, barriers such as incomplete information, lack of tailored support, and unclear guidance may be preventing such transitions from happening. 

Collaborating with partners, including MaRS Data Catalyst and the Labour Market Information Council, and with support from JPMorgan Chase & Co, we’re working to develop a new model for identifying job pathways that connect displaced, skilled workers with employers experiencing talent gaps. This model will be tested initially within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), with the hope that it could be applied to other jurisdictions if it proves to be successful.

The latest waves of labour market change are driving demand for certain skill sets while also enabling a wider array of tasks to be automated or carried out elsewhere in the world. In this context of disruption, anxieties around labour shortages and layoffs are on the rise. Uncertainty surrounding previously reliable employers, such as automotive assembly plants and oilfield services companies, coupled with apparent hiring gaps and the growing importance of tech jobs has heightened the urgency of calls to support workers and employers alike in navigating a changing labour market. 

In this research, we want to take a closer look at possible job pathways (a transition from one job to another) in order to identify those that are high-potential job pathways (a transition from a job that is in decline or likely to be disrupted to another job that is growing, based on both a similarity of skills required as well as individual- and employer-based factors). An exploration of job pathways must go beyond skill requirements alone to reflect the realities of how career transition and hiring processes work for specific geographies, industries, organizations, and individuals. We’re excited to use a mixed-methods approach that combines quantitative analysis and qualitative design research to develop a model for identifying and assessing high-potential job pathways. 

This project builds upon our past work in a variety of areas, including our research on automation, our Employment in 2030 initiative that explores how a wide array of trends might impact future skill demand across Canada, and Palette Inc., a national nonprofit incubated at the Brookfield Institute in its pilot phase, which helps mid-career workers whose jobs are threatened by automation gain the skills needed to transition into high-demand careers.