Skills Development and Employment Opportunities for Women

Transforming Skills Development and Employment Opportunities for Women

June 4, 2024

By Wallaa Daramlly

[OTTAWA/VANCOUVER – June 4, 2024] – The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) has released a report supporting the use of broader measures of employment success.

Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC) is leading the Increasing Pathways to Secure, Meaningful Employment through Design and Implementation of Inclusive Skills Development Policies project to advance inclusive skills development policies and practices, create more equal distribution of economic resources, and remove barriers that prevent women from fully participating in economic spheres. This project has been funded through Women and Gender Equality Canada’s Feminist Response and Recovery Fund.

SRDC  served as a project partner to provide support and advice to WRDC in achieving the project’s objectives. In response to research showing that much current reporting for employment supports and programming tends to focus on narrow measures of success, from October 2023 to February 2024, SRDC researchers reviewed previous SRDC reports to explore expanded or alternate measures of employment success.

Key findings from the study include:

    • Narrowly defined employment outcomes inadequately capture an individual’s distance from the labour market and the important steps needed to reduce that distance.
    • A “milestone approach” helps capture the intermediary steps or outcomes (e.g., improvements in soft skills or employment readiness) considered meaningful along the employment pathway.
    • The Skills for Success model recognizes the influence of different skills on an individual’s job readiness or distance from the labour market and allows them to see broader areas of progress on their employment pathways in keeping with a milestone approach.
    • Other non-employment outcomes (such as improved self-esteem, which can support momentum along the employment pathway) can serve as meaningful indicators of success by recognizing the many factors outside work itself that play a role.
    • Individuals should be involved in identifying their own goals, milestones, and outcomes; as well, it is essential for service providers to recognize contextual factors that can influence employment outcomes and design their programming accordingly.

To learn more about Increasing Pathways to Employment and access the complete report, visit WRDC’s project page or SRDC’s project page.

About Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC):

Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC) is a non-profit organization committed to increasing women’s* participation in trades and technology. WRDC has been a key partner for advancing gender equality in workplaces and on worksites for over twenty-five years, offering a variety of programs and services to address challenges in the attraction, recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in these careers. They are creating a local diverse skilled workforce and supporting industry in their efforts to create and maintain respectful and inclusive workplaces.

* WRDC’s inclusive definition of women may be found on their website at

About Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC): The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) is a non-profit research organization created specifically to develop, field test, and rigorously evaluate new programs. Our two-part mission is to help policymakers and practitioners identify policies and programs that improve the well-being of all Canadians, with a special concern for the effects on the disadvantaged, and to raise the standards of evidence that are used in assessing these policies.

Since our establishment in December 1991, our SRDC team has conducted over 450 projects and studies for various federal and provincial departments, municipalities, as well as other public and non-profit organizations. We have offices located in Ottawa and Vancouver and satellite offices in Calgary, Hamilton, Montreal, Regina, St. John’s, Toronto, and Winnipeg.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Cheri Butt: Chief Executive Officer, WRDC
Dianna Chepita: Corporate Communications Specialist, SRDC

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