M.Sc. Seminar – Jeremie Fraeys de Veubeke

Join us on Tuesday, January 31 at 10 am (via Zoom) for a seminar by M.Sc. student, Jeremie Fraeys de Veubeke. Jeremie is using natural language processing to better understand the transferrable skills required of students in the new skills economy, and how these may have changed over time.

You can find the title and abstract for his seminar below. If you are interested in attending his seminar, please reach out.

Title: Evaluating the Changing Soft Skills Requirement in Tech-related Co-op Job Postings


The Canadian labour market is changing, especially in data-driven processes where the adoption of Artificial Intelligence(AI) has fueled the shift to automated tasks. To keep up with the changes and to remain competitive, companies need to constantly align their search for candidates to best meet evolving qualifications needed. For job seekers, demonstrating only “hard” skills (i.e. technical and domain-specific skills needed to accomplish a specific job) is no longer sufficient to be successful. Recruiters are looking for job candidates to also demonstrate mastery of “soft” skills (also known as foundational or transferrable skills), from the abilities that help people interact well with others such as empathy, communication, and teamwork, to skills that can help them adapt quickly to dynamically changing job requirements. The changing demand can also be observed by the fast and vast adoption of remote work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While the demand for soft skills is rising, no standard definition of soft skills has been adopted. Furthermore, there is little known as to whether different job types require particular soft skills, or how the need for them has changed over time. Such insights could be used to help inform curriculum design in higher education.

This research will analyze the soft skills listed in Co-operative Education job descriptions to understand how their perceived importance has evolved. The goal is to identify what are the most in-demand soft skills in the job market. This information could help inform educators on how to update their course curricula to better prepare their students. A change in curricula, inspired by the findings of this research, could also enable students to develop high-demand soft skills and to adapt their resumes to ensure they capture the attention of prospective employers.

We analyze categorized soft skills using a dataset from a medium-sized university in Southern Ontario, Canada, where students have access to two portals for Co-op and non-Co-op jobs. For this study, we only consider data from the Co-op portal for tech-related jobs posted between January 1st, 2016, to September 30th, 2022, inclusive. Term Frequency – Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF), which measures the importance of words in documents, is used for information retrieval, as it is often applied in data mining and topic modeling tasks.

Advisor: Dr. Daniel Gillis
Co-advisor: Dr. Luiza Antonie
Committee: Dr. Jason Ernst
Committee: Dr. Laura Gatto

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