Skills for Success Day highlights importance of soft skills in a tight job market

Today marks Skills for Success Day, an annual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of the key skills needed for learning, work, and life. These skills, identified by the Government of Canada in response to an evolving labour market and changing skill needs, include: Reading, Writing, Numeracy, Digital, Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration, Adaptability, Creativity and Innovation.

With a record low unemployment rate and high number of job vacancies, companies are changing the way they hire. What’s been important to Canadian employers in the past – such as direct job-related experience and specific qualifications – is becoming less crucial. Nowadays, employers are looking at a candidate’s soft skills – such as those within the Skills for Success framework – to determine suitability for a position.

As Canadian workplaces continue to evolve with a heightened focus on technology, these types of soft skills will become even more crucial. With technology changing so quickly, technology-based skills often become obsolete within two years. It’s the soft skills, such as working with others and communication, that are most important and can be transferred into different positions within an organization. And as automation and artificial intelligence continues to grow, soft skills will be required to complement the capabilities of cutting-edge technology.

“The rise of automation will affect all jobs, not just those traditionally known as low-skilled jobs” says Alison Howard, Executive Director of ABC Life Literacy Canada. “All workers will need to be adaptable lifelong learners, as even the most low-skilled jobs will require a combination of transferable and specific skills. To ensure that our country has a strong skilled workforce, it is essential that Canadians develop strong soft skills in order to succeed not just in work but in life.”

There are many ways Canadians can look to improve their skills, such as through programs like Activate Learning – a literacy program focused on supporting and empowering adult learners. The program aims to improve the number of training opportunities for adult learners, employees and workplaces.

To learn more about skills training, and Skills for Success Day, visit

The Activate Learning project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Adult Learning, Literacy & Essential Skills Program.