THE DEMOGRAPHIC AND ECONOMIC PROFILE OF CANADA IS CHANGING RAPIDLY
As a result of demographic trends and the changing nature of the Canadian job market, it is predicted that there will soon be severe labour shortages in most occupational sectors.
Approximately one-third of Ontario's population is of the "baby boomer" generation and will retire in the coming years
Using Ontario Ministry of Finance data, the projected shortfall in the availability of workers in the province is shown to be at least 200,000, and as high as 1.8 million by 2031, depending on levels of population growth
The impending employment demand gap will challenge the ability of many smaller businesseses to compete with larger corporations and Canada's ability, as a whole, to compete economically on a global level.
There is an opportunity to address labour shortages, before they happen, by recognizing the skills that immigrant workers have to offer. Typically, immigrants to Canada are well-educated, highly skilled and ready to make a positive impact in the workplace.
A large proportion of the population is of the “baby boomer” generation and will be retiring from the workforce in the coming years. In addition, the Canadian birth rate is very low. This trend will have a significant impact on businesses and the economy, as the supply- demand balance for labour will be shifted. Canada’s high rate of immigration provides the ability to address the pressures created by demographic changes.
Changing nature of the Canadian economy
While the manufacturing sector has traditionally dominated – and still remains vitally important – today there is a relative decline in this sector and the emergence of increasingly knowledge-based and service jobs. This trend means that the economy will require a workforce that is more educated, trained and skilled than ever before. Further, globalization and changes in technology have made the business environment more competitive.
- Using a number of Canadian and American estimates, it is projected that by 2031 we will need 77% of our workforce to have post-secondary credentials – currently, 60% of the overall Canadian workforce has these qualifications.
Integrating Internationally Educated/Trained Professionals is critical for businesses
It is becoming increasingly important for Canadian businesses to integrate internationally educated and trained professionals (IEPs), as these individuals possess skills and competencies needed for success in today’s business environment and are critical for the replenishment of the workforce.
According to the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), nearly three-quarters (72%) of prime working age immigrants in Ontario have a degree from an international university, whereas 25% of the same age group from Ontario’s total population are as educated.
Additionally, growth in population, resulting from immigration, contributes greatly to economic prosperity, as it produces increased consumer demand for products and services, in addition to a greater supply of skilled workers.
Challenges for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
These changes will impact Canadian businesses significantly. As the baby boomer generation retires in the coming years, the demand and competition for skilled workers will be an increasingly important issue for local businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs typically have fewer talent management resources than larger companies; thus they may experience the impact of labour shortages more heavily.
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