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“You have to have a diversity of viewpoints at the table to have an effective team.”

President Barack Obama

If you looked around the room at the Economic Club of Canada’s Future Skills: A Conversation with President Barack Obama event, you’d see a diverse crowd in age, race and gender. From students to young professionals to your own #TeamChamber, Canada’s future leaders gathered to examine what our workforce needs to prosper. The answer? People.

Our workforce needs people who are adaptable.

Many argue that in today’s digital age, there’s not much that people do that a machine can’t do better. Our workforce shouldn’t resist against this. We need to imagine new uses for human power because automation will never have the ability to contribute innovative ideas or have the capacity to set goals like people do. Those are what we call durable skills: skills that go beyond a specific job that you can take with you anywhere and that will never be obsolete, such as creativity, leadership and good communication. To create an adaptable workforce, it’s crucial that people harness their EQ (emotional quotient) and IQ (intelligence quotient) to find their AQ (adversity quotient) to help them adjust to the rapid changes that are happening to our workforce.

Our workforce needs people who are diverse.

Diversity is imperative for an effective workforce. Our prosperity depends on ensuring all Canadians – from all sectors, regions and backgrounds – have the opportunity to take part in our society. Research shows that the most successful organizations are creating diversified and inclusive workplaces in which individual differences and the contributions of all employees are valued. Our society needs to dismantle the barriers countless people face in order to access the talent and potential across the country. That’s why we’re committed to advocating for better mental health, accessibility and diversity in the workplace in order to help businesses take measures towards meaningful action.

Our workforce needs people who are leaders.

Canada’s future lies within its next generation of leaders. We need a culture of openness where young leaders have the ability to bring their ideas and insights forward. We need a culture that’s not risk-adverse, where decisions are information based yet people are comfortable taking chances. We need a culture that binds together social, business and political communities rather than dividing them. We need a culture that gives future leaders hope. Ultimately, our workforce is moving towards a culture shift, one tied to a sense of community in the institutions we are a part of. Canada’s next generation of leaders are tired of hearing about the future; they want to shape it, and diversifying our workforce is how we’ll do it.

To learn about how we are helping to create a workplace that prospers, see our page on Work Integrated Learning Placements.

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