Williams HR Law LLP

Preparing for Canada’s Skilled Worker Shortage

June 6, 2012

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”2302″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]The economic turbulence of recent years has led to a popular belief that Canada’s labour market is full of qualified workers that cannot find suitable employment.  Canadian demographic statistics, however, paint a different picture. While the market for unskilled labour is expected to stay strong, finding qualified skilled workers is something that may become increasingly difficult for employers in the years ahead.

There are a few reasons for this imminent shortage. One of these is the  looming retirement of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. This will result in an abnormally high number of skilled and experienced workers leaving Canada’s workforce. Meanwhile, due to technology and a growing global economy, the proportion of jobs requiring specialized skills will continue to increase with Canada’s own economic growth expected to easily outpace population growth.

The projected shift in demographics is not insignificant. The Conference Board of Canada projects that the skilled job deficit in Ontario alone will reach over 360,000 by the year 2025. In order to stay competitive and maintain successful business operations, employers relying on skilled labour should begin preparing their businesses to adapt to the changing workforce landscape. The following are  five strategies for how your  business can prepare for the anticipated skilled labour shortage:

Have a Succession Strategy: Establish an internal succession program that would pair more experienced employees with newer employees that would allow them to share their specialized knowledge. Doing this well in advance of the retirement of seasoned workers will help facilitate a smooth transition of knowledge within the organization.

Stay Current: Keep track of government programs and proposed budgetary and legislative changes. There is increasing pressure on Provincial and Federal governments to accommodate this potential labour shortage and staying in the know will enable your business to respond quickly to regulatory changes and take advantage of any program assistance available in your industry.

Sell Yourself: Market your business culture to potential employees. Stay active within the community and distinguish yourself as an organization that offers growth potential and a dynamic work environment to maintain an edge in recruitment over competitors.

Recruit Internationally: As Canada’s natural replacement rate continues to decline, some employers will need to become increasingly reliant on skilled immigrants for labour openings. Establish an effective international recruitment process and do your homework ahead of time to ensure that potential candidates with overseas qualifications are suitable for potential openings.

Develop Student and Foreign Worker Programs: To avoid potentially having to overpay in a bidding war for skilled employees, being exploring alternative sources of labour such as students and foreign workers where possible.


This blog is provided as information and a summary of workplace legal issues.

This information is not intended as legal advice.