Essential Skills Profiles by Occupation

Employment and Social Development Canada

Essential Skills Profiles by Occupation details how nine essential skills are applied within 350 top occupations.

What This Includes

Skills addressed: Reading, Document Use, Writing, Numeracy, Oral Communication, Thinking, Digital Technology, Working with Others, Continuous Learning


  • Profiles describe tasks associated with more than 350 occupations
  • Profiles link to job postings and labor statistics for Canada

Key Takeaways

  • Instructors, coaches, and advisors can use the example tasks to create training guides, curriculum Skills Frameworks or lesson plans. Instructors can also develop assessments to identify learners’ current skills and help categorize areas for growth.
  • Employers can use the tasks to create job descriptions, interview questions, and on-the-job performance reviews and evaluations.
  • Job-seekers can use the profiles to learn about a variety of occupations, identify those that appeal to them, and understand how their own skills compare to those needed.
  • Tasks in each profile demonstrate literacy, numeracy, and transferable skills in a specific occupational context. For example, a seafood processing plant supervisor will need to complete the following oral communication tasks: resolve conflict, negotiate and diffuse tensions with suppliers, communicate needs of employees in leadership meetings, and discuss quality control with auditors. Thinking tasks include solving problems around a blockage in the supply chain and making decisions about transferring or promoting employees.

The Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) database currently houses more than 350 essential skills profiles. The skills and tasks for each occupation are based on more than 4,500 interviews with employees who described their work in relation to the nine essential skills. The Essential Skills Research Project (ESRP) developed the approach for creating the essential skills profiles. Some profiles were developed starting in the 1990s. ESDC has reviewed and updated some essential skills profiles to reflect changing occupations and tasks. All jobs are listed in accordance with an NOC number (Canada’s National Occupational Classification).


Critical & Creative Thinking

Digital Literacy

Navigating & Using Information

Teamwork & Collaboration

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