CST Survey finds Growing Anxiety around Education and Careers of the Future

Toronto, ON (April 1, 2014) – When asked to identify the most important subjects to prepare students for their future careers, it’s not surprising that 90 per cent of Canadians pointed to science, technology and math courses in a recent survey from CST Consultants (CST), one of Canada’s leading RESP providers.  

“The career landscape in Canada is changing dramatically,” says Martha Turner, CST’s Vice President. “STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) remain important, but soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking and collaboration are becoming essential criteria for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Leger Marketing conducted the survey on behalf of CST to kick off its Inspired Minds initiative. The objective is to inspire and guide our children as they build the Canada of the future – one in which we are at the forefront of innovation in the global career marketplace. Foresight strategists and industry thought leaders will be contributing to the Inspired Minds initiative with the aim of getting parents and their children excited about education and the careers of the future.

The CST survey also revealed that computer skills (79%) is seen as the most important subject for student career development, followed by language skills (64%), science (60%), and math (57%). Albertans put more emphasis on science subjects than most of the other provinces (75% vs. 51% in Quebec, 60% in Ontario, 61% in the Prairies and 60% in B.C.).

Those surveyed were also asked to think about who they think inspires students today, and aspirational role models such as athletes (59%), musicians (59%) and actors (51%) were the top responses. Parents (50%), teachers (48%), and siblings (34%) followed next; well ahead of professionals (21%). Of note, teachers are seen as the least inspirational for students in Quebec, with only 36% thinking they inspire students compared to 52% of the rest of Canada.

“It’s time to start thinking about education differently,” says Dr. Amit Chakma, a member of CST’s Board of Directors and President & Vice-Chancellor of Western University in London, Ontario. “We need to encourage students to explore multiple academic disciplines and expose them to a wider range of community service learning experiences, including international exchanges, as a means to better preparing them for the unique career opportunities that are emerging in our rapidly evolving global economy. As adults and parents, we need to ask our kids what they’re passionate about and support them as they start to explore these new options.”

The Inpired Minds initiative will encourage parents and their children to open their minds to new career paths and explore the future of healthcare, business, engineering, law, art, design and technology among other careers they may not have imagined. More than 40 subject matter experts including Dr. Helen Papagiannis, Chief Innovation Officer of Infinity Augmented Reality and TEDx speaker, Dr. Calvin Stiller, Co-founder of MaRS, Chair of Genome Canada and Chair of Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Marc Mayer, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada will also be sharing their thoughts on the job market of the future and the skills students will need to succeed.

The CST survey also produced the following findings:

·           Only 44% agree that the education children are receiving today is inspiring them to pursue their passions

·           Inspiring students to pursue their passions is seen as the best plan by Quebec (40%); significantly greater than in Ontario (26%) and Alberta (26%)

·           Only 42% feel that as a country we are doing a better job today preparing students compared to when they were in school

·           Only 11% of 18-34 year olds strongly agree that the education children are receiving today is inspiring them to pursue their passions. They are the group most likely to strongly agree, compared to 5% of older Canadians

·           Canadians earning less than $80,000 a year are more likely to agree that as a country we are doing a better job preparing students than when they were in school (45% vs. 32% of those that earn more than $100,000 a year)

The Leger survey was completed between January 27 and January 29 with a sample of 1,503 Canadians 18+. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

To learn more about the CST Inspired Minds initiative, please visit careers2030.cst.org.

About CST 

The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that has been helping families save for post-secondary education for over fifty years. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Foundation, C.S.T. Consultants Inc. is the distributor and manager of the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plans.

Focused exclusively on growing and protecting its planholders' savings, CST currently manages $3.9 billion in assets for over 280,000 Canadian families. CST boasts a sales force of 575 located across the country. The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation offers its own awards for academic achievement and community engagement to those students in their Group Plans who are pursuing graduate studies.

For more information about RESPs at CST, visit www.cst.org, follow us on Twitter at @CSTConsultants and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/CSTConsultants.

Media contacts:

Erin MacFarlane – Corporate Communications

CST Consultants Inc.

Mobile – (416) 602-2849

[email protected]

Andrew Findlater

SELECT Public Relations

Mobile – (416) 659-1197

[email protected]