Why is there a Labour Shortage in Canada?

Canada is currently facing a labour shortage, which has created hundreds of thousands of job opportunities, for skilled, semi, and unskilled foreign workers. There are several reasons for Canada’s labour shortage.

As more people study and work in Canada, and pursue permanent residency (PR), more job opportunities open up to serve the needs of these new temporary and permanent residents. According to Global News, 55% of Canada’s entrepreneurs say they are struggling to hire the workers they need. This causes them to work more hours themselves, overwork their staff, delay customer service or delivery, and even refuse orders.

In the wake of the pandemic, lockdowns created unemployment, while at the same time making it more challenging for Canadian small businesses to hire enough staff. There’s been an almost economy-wide hike in wages, but still, many companies are unable to attract enough employees. 60% of the businesses that raised wages did not find it helpful in attracting workers or qualified applicants.

Pandemic restrictions have pushed large segments of the economy to the brink over the past two years. The hardest hit have been small businesses. During the lockdowns, many employees were forced to switch to other jobs. When they were finally contacted to return to work, employers discovered these people had retrained and are now happy in their new careers. Small business owners say that 1 in 4 employees won’t be coming back.

Restricted customer throughput caused many businesses to operate below their break-even point for many months. Many employees chose to avoid working in a public setting, particularly in the foodservice, accommodation, health care and retail industries. Whether this was due to concern over infection, or because government incentives were being offered, it was crippling to the businesses they worked for.

Virtually all sectors are experiencing upheavals due to retirement. There are not enough new workers entering the workforce to replace the baby boomers who are retiring.

In addition to the pandemic market disruptions, a lack of candidates and qualification mismatches were primary drivers of the labour shortage. Many small to medium-sized businesses have automated their operations or hired temporary foreign workers to keep the doors open, this hOthers have reduced hours, reduced days or closed stores.

There’s Never Been a Better Time to Immigrate to Canada for Work

Canada is a beautiful country, with a great lifestyle. In the 2021 Best Countries Report, published by the U.S. News & World Report, Canada ranked #1, based upon a survey of more than 20,000 global citizens.

According to the Government of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024, Canada aims to welcome 431,645 new permanent residents in 2022, 447,055 in 2023 and 451,000 in 2024.

Which Professions are in High Demand in Canada?

According to Randstad Canada, “skills related to e-commerce, computer science, security and healthcare will be most in-demand (this year).” Here is a list of 25 top in-demand jobs for immigrants in Canada for 2022, listed alphabetically.

Accounting

As pandemic restrictions ease up, businesses are looking for ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses and to developing sustainable and flexible cash flow plans. Accounting is a skill that will be in demand for a long time to come. Companies need to know their bottom line and the government will always want their taxes. If you have accounting, financial planning, analysis and forecasting skills, you could land a top-paying job in Canada in 2022. The Canadian government requires you to have Public Accountants Council or Chartered Professional Accountants recognition/registration. Accountants are needed across the country, but Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan are the provinces of greatest need.

Administrative Support / Assistance

As a direct result of the pandemic lockdowns, companies around the world have begun to let go of the traditional model, with all of the employees working under one roof. Out of necessity, staff members were permitted to work from home, in nearly every sector, and it’s been working with minimal loss of productivity. Knowledge of digital and virtual collaborative tools is essential. A foundational understanding of the electronic tools, software and databases used in administrative jobs is also required. Administrative support jobs exist in every province of Canada, but there’s a special need in British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. Being more specific in which province you want to work in, could increase your chances of getting Canada permanent residency (PR).

Budgeting

The pandemic response placed restrictions on work conditions, and it also caused many companies to slash their budgets as revenues took a hit. In many cases operations came to a complete halt. Crisis strategies were put in place, with an evolving post-pandemic strategy. To meet these demands, budgeting skills are needed for forecasting, discovering new sources of cash flow, restructuring, debt management and future emergency planning. Budgeting has become a valuable post-pandemic skill, with job openings in almost any industry. British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia are in particular need of skilled budget strategists.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Health experts predict the pandemic will be a part of our lives for the unforeseeable future. With the introduction of strict cleaning and sanitizing health measures, we’ve seen the emergence of a new industry, for skilled cleaning and sanitization specialists. The janitorial sector received specialized training with tools like electrostatic spray disinfection systems and quickly evolved to become a leading essential service. Public spaces such as schools, restaurants, hotels, financial institutions and offices must meet sanitary standards to remain open. Cleaning and sanitizing staff are needed across the country, with notable shortages in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan.

Customer Service Representative

Many businesses have been forced to shift from brick-and-mortar to online due to lockdowns and restrictions, creating a demand for customer service departments. Customer service reps help customers understand the products and services being offered. They typically answer inquiries by phone, e-mail, web chat, or social media. Online customers also need support, with payment challenges, delivery delays, purchase or product/service problems, and refunds. Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan in particular require customer service representatives.

Delivery Driver

During the pandemic, Canadians quickly learned to rely on weekly or even daily deliveries of food, groceries and other essentials. Most delivery services complain about a shortage of drivers and suffer from delivery backlogs. Whether you have the credentials to operate large commercial trucks or have the detail-oriented nature needed for local deliveries, there are many openings for drivers available across Canada in 2022. In 2022, most companies have a GPS app for their drivers, so knowledge of the city is no longer required. A friendly disposition and clean driver’s license could be all that’s required to begin making deliveries.

Courier services like Canpar, DHL, FedEx, Purolator and UPS have increased their number of trucks and drivers in most cities and communities across the country. Most restaurants either offered their own delivery service or partnered with delivery services like DoorDash, Instacart, Postmates, SkipTheDishes or UberEats to survive. For groceries, many Canadians rely on their weekly Spud or Organic Box grocery delivery, while other busy families have chosen meal kits from companies like Chefs Plate, Fresh Prep, Good Food and We Cook. Amazon rolled out its enormous fleet of Canadian trucks in 2021.

E-commerce Sales

Canada’s entire retail sector is expected to rebound in 2022. There was a decline of 4.6% in 2020, but 6.4% growth is predicted for this year. E-commerce is projected to account for 13.4% of all retail in Canada this year, which is up from 6.9% in 2019. The pandemic has changed customer behaviour and that trend is expected to continue. Growth is expected to be 12% this year, following a gigantic 75% leap in 2020. E-commerce sales and marketing professionals typically update the online store, create promotions and manage ad campaigns.

Electrician

There is a shortage of qualified electricians in Canada. Many are employed by electrical contractors and maintenance departments of buildings, or in other establishments. Others choose to be self-employed. Electricians specialize in the electrical wiring of buildings, transmission lines, and stationery machines. Duties typically include planning electrical projects, installing electrical systems, and repairing faulty electrical lines. Electricians must be certified in Canada. Prior work experience as a foreign national can be helpful, but completion of a certification course at a technical institute or college, or online will be required to earn Canadian electrical certification.

Engineer

Engineering is a sector that holds particular promise for foreign nationals considering immigration to Canada. The current labour shortage has intensified the need for engineers in Canada, and employers are desperately trying to lure them from around the world. Professional engineers invent, analyze, build and test machines, complex systems, the construction or repair of buildings, and materials to fulfill functional objectives and requirements for their employer or clients. They evaluate the limitations that are imposed by practicality, regulation, safety and cost. There are seven primary classifications of engineers in Canada: electrical, mechanical, software, biomedical, civil, geotechnical and mining, thus creating a variety of in-demand jobs for immigrants.

Human Resources Manager

Canada’s job market is booming as the country begins to recover from the pandemic. This means businesses have a growing need for human resource managers to handle hiring, monitoring and evaluation, and at times firing of the employees. Human Resources Managers help management and employees maintain healthy and productive relations. Canadian businesses will be hiring more HR professionals to help ensure compliance with Covid mandates, labour laws, reduce turnover and improve employee morale. As companies bounce back, there will also be a need to scale up both the staff and their skills to support the projected growth.

Key Account Manager / Sales

Key account managers plan, organize, direct, control and evaluate the activities of departments and establishments. They typically work with large clients and forge strategic partnerships for their employers. Key account managers will be critical to supporting ongoing business success in this competitive, lean mid- and post-pandemic market. Their ability to close new business, build lasting client relationships and provide high-quality sales and customer service will help businesses retain their most profitable clients even during these challenging times.

Information Technology (IT) Project Manager / Cloud Architect

Managers overseeing the information technology projects development and the implementation of those projects drive their company or organization’s tech efforts. It is their responsibility to ensure continuous improvement, providing frameworks and leadership for their development initiatives. Many tech companies hire IT project managers to serve as support for clients implementing their solutions. A penchant for problem-solving and diverse technical experience are invaluable for the IT project manager.

Many companies are relying on cloud solutions, moving beyond the pandemic, recognizing the need to be more flexible, support business continuity and improve cost-savings and convenience. This shift is creating many new jobs for professionals with cloud architecture experience.

Managerial and Business Development

Business managers are responsible for planning, directing and overseeing the operations and fiscal health of a business unit, division or department. As Canada begins to recover in 2022, effective managers will help drive that recovery. Business development encompasses the ideas, initiatives, and activities that help make the business better; such as sales growth, business expansion, the formation of strategic partnerships, and increasing profitability. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver offer many job opportunities, and Alberta and Manitoba are the provinces most in need of skilled turn-around managers.

Marketing Manager

Canada is expected to create over 19,000 new marketing, public relations and advertising manager jobs in the next six years. Marketing managers plan, organize, direct and evaluate the activities of organizations and departments involved in advertising, marketing and public relations. Enhanced competition and the financial challenges of the past two years have made it necessary for businesses to be as intelligent as possible with their marketing spend. Marketing managers help businesses make better choices with their online and offline marketing. This may include traditional marketing, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), pay-per-click (PPC) and website marketing.

Project Management

Project management skills are increasingly in demand in Canada. Strong project management skills are essential in almost every industry, and many PMs manage remote teams from their homes, making sure that projects are effectively managed from designs or blueprints to completion. As Canada opens back up after the pandemic, it remains to be seen whether project managers will move operations back on-site. Project managers require skills in digital project management, chance/probability and risk management. A good project manager can extract data, provide solid insights from the data and communicate clearly with both stakeholders and supervisors. Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba are the most in need of project managers.

Purchasing and Supply Chain Specialist

Supply chain specialists oversee and ensure the proper flow of the supply chain; the process from ordering of materials through to product delivery. The supply chain specialist’s role involves procuring materials, maintaining inventory, responding to demand, and processing orders. The job involves mapping out a strategy and taking specific steps to protect the business against disruptions, labour shortages and rising prices. For many Canadian companies, the primary challenge in 2021 was supply chain disruptions; and that challenge is far from over. Many Canadian exporters are experiencing supply chain bottlenecks and labour shortages.

Quality Control

Quality control employees are essential to ensuring product and service standards are being upheld. Companies must confirm that their products are up to standards and in full compliance with industry-specific laws and regulations. There will always be a need for quality control in the aerospace, construction, manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical sectors. Attention to detail, the ability to adhere to strict procedures, and problem-solving are essential skills for working in quality control. British Columbia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan, in particular, require quality control staff.

Registered Nurse / Health Care Support Workers for Seniors

Beginning in the fall of 2021, provinces across Canada suspended or fired over 6,000 nurses who chose not to be vaccinated. This action caused serious nursing shortages across the country. With the lifting of government mandates across the country over recent weeks, it remains to be seen whether these nurses will be reinstated, or if these permanent job vacancies will need to be filled by foreign nationals. Registered nurses (RNs) assess each patient’s health status, provide direct nursing care and deliver health education programs. They recommend the right nursing interventions for each patient, administer medications as prescribed by physicians, and monitor patients.

With Canada’s aging population, and long-term care associated with Covid, some job recruiters are predicting nurse shortages will rise to the very top of the list within the next few years.

Repair Professionals

In 2020 repair was classified as an essential service in Canada, so infrastructures and essential business could continue functioning properly. Critical sectors where repair services are needed are finance, food, healthcare, manufacturing, safety, sanitation, transportation and water. During the recovery following the pandemic, many companies have been financially stretched to their limits. They don’t have a budget for new equipment and will rely heavily on repair services to keep their equipment running. Canadian provinces most in need of repair professionals are Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Manitoba.

Retail Essential Worker

Frontline retail workers have been the essential but often undervalued Covid heroes. These are the people stocking shelves in the grocery store aisles, behind the counters at pharmacies, or ringing in your items at the checkout or local convenience shop. And, behind the scenes, they have been packing orders, shipping and conducting infrastructure maintenance. The pandemic created some unique challenges, with the risk to the health and well-being of retail frontline workers, while consumer preferences shifted, accelerating the demand for home delivery and buy online, and buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS). As the economy begins to recover, frontline retail worker shortages will become more apparent.

Scheduling

Scheduling has become an increasingly sought-after skill in Canada, in the HR and administration sectors. Pandemic restrictions have reduced the number of employees permitted to work on-site, in many cases, and limited resources. Workers’ shifts need to be scheduled on rotation, and some employees may be working from home. British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan in particular need workers in administrative roles.

Cyber Security Analyst / Information Security Analyst

During the Covid-19 outbreak, cybercriminals seized the global crisis to launch sophisticated Gen V cyber attacks and targeted ransomware. By 2021, the threat had become known as the “Cyber Pandemic”, and security has become job one for most businesses. Cyber security analysts, or information security analysts, are responsible for protecting the computer networks and systems of their employer or client. They develop strategies and processes to securely monitor, analyze records like authentication logs, protect and defend sensitive data and assets from attack. Pentesting (penetration testing) of the existing network environments helps a security analyst identify and patch security vulnerabilities before they are exploited by cybercriminals.

Software Developer

Many companies learned the hard way during the Covid-19 lockdowns that technology and software could make or break their business. The companies that were able to seamlessly transition to remote work environments typically came out ahead. Software developers are IT professionals who write, modify, integrate and test computer code for software applications, data processing, operating system software and communications software. As companies turn ever more towards technical solutions, software developers are in increasingly greater demand. Businesses of all types and sizes need custom software app solutions, development and maintenance of in-house software and the implementation of cloud technologies.

Warehouse Worker

During the pandemic, many businesses were forced to shut down their retail outlets. Moving online caused them to adopt an e-commerce warehousing model to future-proof their operation. Warehouse workers, or material handlers, are responsible for unloading, moving, storing and shipping various materials either by hand or with the use of machinery. They may be required to operate a forklift, crane or other machinery to unload very heavy items. Duties typically include unloading, moving, storing and transporting materials. Counting of incoming and outgoing products, inventory management, sorting, weighing and unpacking may also be required. The warehouse worker may also be responsible for disposing of leftover packing materials or hazardous waste safely and appropriately.

Welder

Over 200,000 welding jobs are expected to open up across Canada over the next six years, this creates in-demand jobs for immigrants.  Welders typically work on boilers, structural steel and plate work, heavy machinery, aircraft and ships. There are many manufacturing shops for specialty metal products or custom fabrication, small welding shops and mobile contractors. In Canada, structural welders must be qualified under CSA W47.1, W47.2 and W186, which are administered by the Canadian Welding Bureau (part of the CWB Group). Job prospects are the best in areas with high levels of construction and industry. Canadian provinces most in need of welders are British Columbia and Prince Edward Island.

Improving Your Skills can Improve Your Chances of Getting Canadian Permanent Residency

Investing in your skills and developing experience will not only improve your chances of landing your dream job in Canada, but it could help you get permanent residency. Having the right skills can help you get a Canadian work permit, but having enough experience could help you obtain a visa to live and work in Canada permanently.

Canada’s Express Entry System programs rank candidates using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), based on factors such as your age, education, work experience and language skills. The more years of experience you have, the more CRS points you stand to get. Gaining more work experience in your chosen field could mean the difference between getting an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency, or having your Express Entry profile remain in the draw pool.

Are you thinking about putting your skills and useful knowledge to work? Start your application with Pax Law today!


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