Canada's first post-secondary people analytics program addresses urgent skills gap during global pandemic

TORONTO, June 3, 2020 /CNW/ - The York University School of Continuing Studies has launched Canada's first university continuing education Certificate in People Analytics, with classes beginning completely online this September. The School is offering this program during a critical time for organizations and their human resources departments, as the COVID-19 pandemic has created many workforce and business challenges.

"The COVID-19 crisis has thrust people analytics into the spotlight. Whether it be to ensure the safety and well-being of people or maintain organizational health and productivity, people analytics professionals are being called upon to build fact bases, predict risk and tell stories that can have a true social impact. The need to make sound data-driven decisions regarding employees has never been greater," says Arjun Asokakumar, Director of Data Science, People Analytics at RBC and Program Advisory Council Member for The Certificate in People Analytics.

By analyzing workforce data, HR professionals can identify solutions to keep employees safe and maintain business continuity during this crisis. At the onset of the pandemic, people analytics practices helped determine which employees were at a higher risk for COVID-19 and needed to work from home and which critical roles were required to stay on site.

As businesses prepare to reopen, employee data can gauge employee productivity while working remotely. This data can help determine strategies for integrating employees back into the workplace as organizations will look long-term at optimizing the balance between working on-site and from home.

Canada is currently facing a skills gap of approximately 150,000 data-literate managers and analysts, which has only been exacerbated by this crisis.(i) The Certificate in People Analytics aims to fill this skills gap by training human resource professionals to leverage workforce data into solutions that connect to a business's target outcomes.

"Although the COVID-19 crisis has led to unprecedented job losses across Canada, emerging professions such as people analytics are experiencing a demand for skilled workers to help organizations navigate the difficulties created by the pandemic," says Tracey Taylor-O'Reilly, Assistant Vice-President, Continuing Studies. "The York University School of Continuing Studies' accelerated Certificate in People Analytics provides a way for human resource professionals to upskill in a short amount of time, develop a work portfolio and seize opportunities during and after the crisis."

The Certificate in People Analytics is created in partnership with industry leaders and subject matter experts to ensure the skill set students learn aligns with employer needs and expectations. Students enrolled in the program will be introduced to fundamental concepts of data analytics, become comfortable visualizing data insights and apply those data-driven insights to address HR-related problems. In addition to theory-based knowledge, students will engage in a practice-oriented final capstone where they will apply the skills they learned towards a real-world HR issue.

The 6-month, online, part-time program is offered in an accelerated format, allowing students to graduate faster with the skills they need to leverage data in solving the many common issues addressed by HR units.

The Certificate in People Analytics is one of four new programs the School is launching in Fall 2020 to fill skills gaps in in-demand fields. Enrolment is now open for the September 2020 session of the Certificate in People Analytics.

About the York University School of Continuing Studies

York University's School of Continuing Studies is the fastest growing continuing education provider in the country. With a commitment to lifelong learning and access to education, the School offers professional certificate programs and English language preparation. The School is composed of a dynamic Continuing Professional Education (CPE) unit that develops innovative certificate programs that prepare professionals to thrive in the rapidly changing world of work. It is also home to the York University English Language Institute (YUELI) -- the largest university English language institute in Canada.

(i) Canada's Big Data Consortium, 2015, "Closing Canada's Big Data Talent Gap" viewed at

SOURCE York University School of Continuing Studies