12 June, 2023 — A December 2022 poll on the Canadian labour market reveals the pressure employers are facing around hiring and talent shortages. These issues have wider implications for the economy; however, the potential benefits of well-designed employment services are being increasingly recognized.
In this blog, we’ll summarize the primary findings of the Statistics Canada poll, highlight commentary from key stakeholders, and provide examples of programs that have helped address labour shortages in Canada.
Key findings from the poll
- Pressure on Canadian employers: Canadian employers are experiencing significant difficulties filling job vacancies. Many employers are concerned about the lack of available talent, which is leading to extended recruitment timelines and increased competition for skilled workers.
- Job shortages and economic impacts: The job shortages across various sectors are having a broader impact on the Canadian economy. Industries such as construction, healthcare, and technology are particularly affected, leading to delayed projects, increased costs, and reduced productivity. This situation highlights the need for proactive measures to address labour market gaps.
- Potential of well-designed employment services: The poll suggests that well-designed employment services have the potential to help solve some of the challenges faced by Canadian employers. Effective programs can help close gaps in the labour market by providing support in areas such as recruitment, training, and skills development.
Wider commentary from key stakeholders
To provide a more comprehensive understanding of employer perceptions concerning Canada’s labour market situation, it’s valuable to consider commentary from key stakeholders such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and various construction associations.
These organizations often provide insights and recommendations based on their expertise and industry knowledge. Their websites can serve as resources for employers seeking further information and guidance on navigating labour market challenges.
Examples of impacts and successful programs
- Barriers: One of the barriers highlighted by employers includes a skills mismatch, where the skills possessed by job seekers do not align with the requirements of available positions. To address this, several employment programs have been implemented in Canada, such as skills training initiatives and apprenticeship programs. These programs aim to equip individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the demands of the labour market, resulting in improved employment outcomes.
- Local initiatives: Local communities and municipalities have also played a significant role in addressing labour market challenges. For instance, some regions have established job placement centres or collaborated with employers to develop customized recruitment strategies. These localized efforts have helped bridge the gap between job seekers and employers, fostering better matches and reducing hiring difficulties.
- Best practice programs: There are several best practice programs that have demonstrated success in closing labour market gaps. For example, sector-specific programs that offer targeted training and industry certifications have proven effective in meeting the skills requirements of specific industries. Additionally, programs that facilitate internships, co-op placements, or work-integrated learning opportunities have enabled employers to engage with potential candidates and assess their suitability before making hiring decisions.
Follow-up on sector-specific challenges
In addition to the overall labour market challenges faced by Canadian employers, it may be valuable to explore sector-specific challenges in more depth. Sectors such as healthcare, technology, and construction often face unique issues and require tailored solutions. By examining these challenges individually, employers and policymakers can develop more targeted strategies to address specific workforce needs.
The recent poll on employer perceptions of the current labour market status in Canada highlights the pressure employers face in hiring and job shortages. The wider impact on the economy emphasizes the need for effective employment services and programs. By addressing barriers, adopting local initiatives, and implementing best practice programs, employers can better navigate labour market challenges and foster a more robust workforce.
To help employers address the challenges listed above, the Government of Ontario has invested $700 million dollars towards the Skills Development Fund. The Skills Development fund offers funding to organizations for innovative projects that address challenges to hiring, training, or retaining workers — including apprentices — to drive Ontario’s economic growth.
These challenges won’t disappear overnight, but there is trust (instilled by initiatives like the Skills Development Fund) that we are on the right track.