Canadians need a range of digital and human skills to succeed in today’s job market—and some of the most valuable digital skills are among the most basic, such as spreadsheets, according to new research using Burning Glass Technologies data.
The study by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship provides more evidence that the trend toward hybrid jobs, roles mixing skill sets that formerly did not go together, is a global one. Burning Glass data has shown the power of combining digital and human skills in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Brookfield study examined 7 million job postings collected by Burning Glass in Canada from 2012 to 2018. Brookfield created a classification of more than 13,000 skills and rated them on their “digital intensity,” or how important these digital skills are to the role. (For more on digital intensity, have a look at earlier Burning Glass reports on digital skills).
Key findings from I, Human: The digital and soft skills driving Canada’s labour market:
- Canadians across the economy require a suite of digital and non-digital skills. Despite growing attention on the importance of learning to code, demand is highest for the least digitally intensive skills, such as proficiency in Microsoft Excel.
- Data skills are important across a variety of jobs that range in digital intensity, reflecting the importance of data in Canada’s economy. They can also support transitions between jobs. Microsoft Excel and SQL (a database querying software), for example, are frequently requested alongside one another. For an individual proficient in Excel, learning SQL might open up opportunities to move into more digitally intensive jobs.
- The most digitally-intensive roles also place the highest emphasis on non-digital skills—notably, teamwork, communication, judgment, and problem-solving skills.
- Creative jobs, from advertising to video game design, are particularly notable for requiring a combination of both design-oriented digital skills (for example, those required to work with tools such as Adobe Photoshop and CSS) and non-digital communications, marketing, and design skills.
The most requested digital skills in Canada include:
Skill Description Number of mentions Digital Intensity Classification
Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet software 741,191 Low
Microsoft Office Work productivity software suite 621,690 Low
Microsoft Word Document composing software 296,992 Low
Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation creation software 266,748 Low
SQL Database management software 163,000 High
Spreadsheets Data organization 151,719 Low
Software Development General skill 133,681 High
Technical Support General skill 130,540 Medium
SAP Business enterprise software 126,787 Medium
Java Programming language 112,680 High