Global Skills Shortage No Longer Just a Threat

The global skills shortage is no longer just a threat. Canada now has the second highest rate of skills shortages in the world. Beyond training young Canadians in diverse sectors, industries must start hiring internationally trained immigrants to fill the growing number of job vacancies.

Employers are beginning to recognize the importance of attracting and retaining older workers, immigrants, single mothers and people with disabilities.

A January 2006 survey found that 66% of Canadian businesses were having problems finding qualified workers. The top reason cited was that there was not enough “suitable talent” for the jobs.

The survey was conducted by Manpower Inc., – an international employment services company.

“The talent shortage is becoming a reality for a larger number of employers around the world, and this is only going to get worse over the next several decades, as demographic shifts and other factors continue to reduce the number of people who are willing and able to participate in the workforce,” said Jeffrey Joerres, chairman & CEO of Manpower Inc. “The shortages are most acute across North America at this point.”

The top 10 jobs that employers are having difficulty filling across Canada are (ranked in order):

  1. Sales Representatives
  2. Customer Service Representatives/Customer Support
  3. Engineers
  4. Drivers
  5. Mechanics
  6. Labourers
  7. Chefs/Cooks
  8. Electricians
  9. Skilled Trades
  10. Nurses

Birth Rates Falling; Boomers Retiring

B.C. predicts almost one-million job openings between 2003 and 2010, with 123,900 jobs in healthcare, 54,400 jobs in the transportation sector, and 61,500 in the construction sector. These jobs are the result of both workers retiring and new job creation. As a result, only half of those jobs can be filled by our current population. Our provincial government recognizes the need to help Canadian immigrants fill these jobs. Many were trained internationally and lack Canadian credentials; others need upgrading to Canadian standards.

”Many economies have a wealth of unemployed or under-employed individuals who could be brought (back) into the labour force,” according to Manpower Inc’s white paper Confronting the Coming Talent Crunch: What’s Next? ”Potential sources of talent can be found by encouraging an inclusive workforce. Women, older individuals, people with disabilities and minorities are all under-represented in many workforces, but a potential source of talent that should not be overlooked.”

Skills shortages jeopardize business

”Employers are telling us that they are not just looking for bodies to fill sales jobs, they want experienced sales people who know their respective industries and can drive revenues,” Joerres said.” In 10 years, we will see many businesses failing because they haven’t planned ahead for the talent shortage and are unable to find the people they need to run their businesses. This is not a cyclical trend, as we have seen in the past, this time the talent crunch is for real, and it’s going to last for decades.”

As employers compete for talent in these hot job categories, salaries and compensation will escalate, he added. ”Anyone currently searching for a new job or a different career should seriously consider the results of this survey, and set their sights on getting the education and training required to pursue one of these promising career paths.”

For a copy of the white paper:

Skills Connect program participants’ educational background:

Bachelor Degree: 60%
Masters Degree: 19%
Non-University Diploma: 6%
Trade Certificate: 6%
Doctoral Degree: 3%
Other: 6%