Job Quality Indicators » Training and Skill Development

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Do Workers Get the Training They Need?

Updated June 2007

Having the opportunity to develop existing skills and learn new ones is important to a worker’s career development. At the same time, it builds an organization’s reservoir of knowledge and skill. So it’s important to ask: To what extent do Canadian workers feel they get the training they need to be effective in their jobs? The answer to this question has clear implications for the performance of the firm and for the overall strength of the economy.

Asking yourself this question, you may answer that you have received adequate training to enable you to do your job well. If that’s the case, you are not alone. A majority of Canadian workers give their employers a passing grade in terms of providing adequate training opportunities. Fifty-six percent of workers say, to a large extent, that they receive the training needed to do their jobs effectively.

 

Do Workers Get the Training they Need?: Young Workers Most Likely to Agree 

Source: Rethinking Work (2004) by Ekos Research Associates & The Graham Lowe Group.
 

Just over one-third say they only agree to some extent, that they receive the training needed to do their jobs effectively. A further seven percent say they do not at all agree at all that they receive enough training. Although there are gender differences, these are minor, with 54 percent of men and 59 percent of women indicating that they agree, to a large extent, that they receive the training they need to do there jobs effectively.

While younger workers may sometimes have fewer training opportunities than older workers, particularly classroom training, they are more positive in their assessment of the effectiveness of this training. Sixty-seven percent of young workers (less than 25) agree, to a large extent, with the statement that they receive adequate training needed to do their job effectively. This is much higher than for any of the other age groups.

There are several possible explanations for higher ratings by younger workers. For starters, many young people work in low skill jobs, such as in retail and service firms (see below) which often require little training. Moreover, being among the newer participants in the labour market, these young people would be the main participants in employer orientation training – one of the most common forms of workplace training. Furthermore, because young people possess limited work experience, any amount of training will tend to be seen in a more positive light as helping contribute to their marketable skills and improving their prospects for finding future work.

 

By Employment Type

Opportunities For Skill Development Highest
Among the Self-Employed and Lowest Among Part-time Workers

Source: Rethinking Work (2004) by Ekos Research Associates & The Graham Lowe Group.
 

Full-time and part-time employees are similar in their perceptions of the adequacy of the training they need to do their jobs effectively. Self-employed workers also report positive perceptions of the effectiveness of their training.

 

By Region

Do Workers Get the Training they Need?
Perceptions Highest in Atlantic Regions
and Lowest in B.C.

Source: Rethinking Work (2004) by Ekos Research Associates & The Graham Lowe Group.
 

There are some notable provincial differences with respect to perceived effectiveness of training. Workers in British Columbia are less likely to say they agree, to a large extent, that they receive training to do their job effectively. They are also most likely to say they “do not at all agree” that they receive the training to do their jobs effectively. On the other hand, over 60 percent of workers in Atlantic Provinces agree, to a large extent, that they receive the training to do their jobs well. The high proportion of Quebecers reporting adequate training might be a result of the provinces' requirement that one percent of a firms wage bill be re-invested in workplace training. However, no such program exists in other regions where satisfaction levels are similar to those found in Quebec (e.g. Atlantic Provinces and Saskatchewan/Manitoba).

 

By Industry

Do Workers Get the Training they Need?
Satisfaction Highest in Construction

Source: Rethinking Work (2004) by Ekos Research Associates & The Graham Lowe Group.
 

Finally, perceived effectiveness of training varies by industry. The highest levels are reported by those in construction where 62 percent agree, to a large extent, that they training they receive is adequate to do their jobs effectively. This is followed closely by workers in public administration, at 59 percent.

In comparison, only 49 percent of employees in manufacturing agree, to a large extent, that they receive enough training to do their jobs effectively. The figures are similar for workers in distribution, at 50 percent.

It is interesting to note the generally positive perceptions of the adequacy of training in retail, consumer and personal services – a sector that is often not associated with large investment in training. These positive perceptions may be largely attributed to the fact that many younger workers are employed in these types of jobs. And as noted above, younger workers do report positive perceptions of the effectiveness in the training they receive.

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