How newcomers can help bridge Canada’s talent gap

Canada is in the midst of a labour shortage, and according to a report by BDC, there’s no relief in sight for the next decade. 

The report found that 40% of Canadian entrepreneurs are having difficulty finding the workers they need, and their businesses are suffering because of it. One of the reasons for this gap, cited in the study, is Canada’s aging population, with more people retiring out of jobs than those available to fill them. It’s estimated that by 2026 more than 21% of Canada’s population will be 65 or older, and that by 2036 there will be less than three people in the labour force for every person not in the labour force aged 65 or over. In some regions of Canada, that ratio could be less than two to one.

What employers need to close the gap

This growing talent gap means that employers must look beyond obvious labour sources, which can provide job opportunities for younger workers, retirees, and newcomers. This is good news for the highly skilled and educated professionals who are considering Canada as a new home. According to the 2016 Census, over half of recent immigrants had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

A recent study by the Conference Board of Canada surveyed 1,500 Ontario employers who shared what they’re looking for in employees:

  • 57% of employers want employees with a 2 or 3 year college diploma
  • 44% of employers want employees with a 4 year degree
  • 41% want employees with trades certification

Filling these roles is vital for the Canadian economy. The study found that in Ontario alone, the current skills shortages cost the economy up to $24.3 billion in foregone GDP, and $3.7 billion in provincial tax revenues annually. 

The story is similar in British Columbia, where 76% of construction companies can’t find enough qualified workers in the trades they require, which means that 58% are actually turning down work. Another report from BC Business found that the most frequent challenge encountered by employers trying to fill roles is a general lack of qualified applicants within the region.

What jobs are in top demand?

The jobs with the most opportunities range from highly skilled to entry level. Ranstad’s list of the top 15 jobs in Canada for 2020 include:

  • Sales associate
  • Driver
  • Receptionist
  • Welder
  • Developer
  • Business development manager
  • General labourer
  • Project manager
  • Heavy duty mechanic
  • Merchandiser
  • Electrical engineer
  • Accountant
  • HR manager
  • Financial advisor
  • Registered nurse

Ready to look for a job in Canada? Check out our Jobs page which lists featured opportunities. Want to learn more about employment in Canada? Attend our Newcomers Canada events in Vancouver on April 18, or Toronto on May 23 to connect with employers and regional attraction teams looking for talent like yours.

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