The Canadian Labour Shortage: FAQs

According to the recent ManpowerGroup 2018 Talent Shortage survey, forty-one percent of Canadian employers are reporting difficulty in filling jobs.  Various reports suggest that the labour shortage has not been this severe since 2006… and it could get worse.  The survey suggests that it is not just one area where it is hardest to fill roles but various industries are having issues acquiring new talent.  For examples, over the past ten to fifteen years it has become increasingly difficult to fill skilled trade positions.  This area remains an area where employers are struggling to find qualified staff.

In 2018, in British Columbia, approximately one in 25 jobs remains vacant.  While it is normal for a portion of the population to be unemployed at any given time, the higher vacancy rates can often be a result of a lack of skills from candidates.

We have put together some frequently asked questions about talent shortages to help understand the impact of this type of economic condition.

Labour Shortage FAQs

What is a labour shortage?

A labour shortage occurs when there are more open jobs available than the skilled workforce.  Often this is good for the worker as this can mean higher wages, but for employers, a labour shortage can mean finding employees who may lack certain or required skills.  More specifically a labour shortage “is an economic condition in which employers believe there are insufficient qualified candidates (employees) to fill open or upcoming positions.” (Source: Wikipedia)

What causes a labour shortage?

A labour shortage can be caused by a turn in economic conditions where there is a shortage of skilled workers for a given industry or overall job market.  Labour shortages can also be a result of an influx of jobs as a new industry emerges or sees exceptional growth in a short time period.  Shortages can also be caused by a mismatch in skills, poor compensation, geographic location or ineffective recruitment by employers.

What are the hardest roles that employers cannot fill as a result of the current labour shortage in Canada?

In Canada, the top ten hardest roles to fill are:

  1. Skilled Trades – this is the obvious number one as there is a need to replace an aging population in this area. From electricians and plumbers to welders and mechanics.
  2. Sales Reps – both on the B2B and B2C side of things.
  3. Delivery/Transportation – there is a need for drivers in terms of truck, delivery drivers, construction and heavy equipment and mass transit.
  4. Technicians – quality controllers and technical staff
  5. Engineers – electrical, chemical and mechanical
  6. T. – network administrators, cyber security experts, technical support staff
  7. Office Support – administrative assistants, receptionists
  8. Health care professionals – doctors, nurses, other health professionals
  9. Professionals – lawyers, project managers, research staff
  10. Teachers – all levels

Source: Solving the Talent Shortage in Canada

How long does a labour shortage last?

It depends.  The duration of a labour shortage may vary depending on region, location and economic conditions.  Labour shortages can last for months, years or even a decade.

What does a labour shortage mean for job seekers?

A labour shortage can mean more opportunity for employment.  It can mean more opportunity for training and development and can often mean slightly higher wages.

What does a labour shortage mean for employers?

A talent shortage can mean slower staffing of resources.  Quite often it means having to offer higher wages and more attractive benefit packages to attract candidates.  It can also mean having to hire candidates that may not have the full skillset required for the position.

Does Canada have a labour shortage?

Various economic reports suggest that as 2018 concludes that there is a labour shortage in Canada.  This video suggests that labour shortage is currently at the highest level ever recorded in Canada.

Plain and simple, Canadian employers are experiencing increasingly difficult times in hiring the staff they need to fill their positions. For employers the time is now to strengthen your resource/talent pipeline.

Need assistance with your recruiting or staffing efforts in the Okanagan? Contact us today to set up a consultation.  Speak with one of our experienced HR consultants and begin preparing for your 2019 staffing needs today!

Additional Reading:

You can read the full Manpower report here.