Where is there a talent shortage in Canada?

by | Nov 22, 2023 | Benefits Alliance Pulse

Unravel the mystery of where Canada’s talent shortage lies. Dive into our analysis highlighting key industries, causes, and solutions.

Have you ever tried to solve a puzzle that has pieces missing? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Well, imagine if that puzzle was the workforce of an entire nation. That’s the much more intricate and consequential topic we’re discussing – the talent shortage in Canada.

We often hear about ‘brain drain’ or high levels of unemployment, but here’s another side of the story: businesses scrambling for skilled workers while job seekers struggle to fit into vacant roles.

The tech sector and industrial fields are two key areas where demand for talent surpasses supply.

If you’re curious about the “how” and “why”, or even better, eager to find solutions, keep reading this week’s Benefits Alliance Pulse. These aren’t just intriguing questions – they hold immense significance for our future direction.


Understanding the Talent Shortage in Canada’s Industrial Sector


The industrial sector in Canada, especially mining and related heavy industries, is grappling with a serious talent shortage. It appears that younger workers aren’t drawn to these sectors the same way they have been in the past. The talent pool isn’t replenishing fast enough to fill the gaps left by retiring workers.

This labour shortage impacts more than just filling vacancies; it threatens core business operations. An insufficient workforce can hike operating expenses as companies scramble to cover shifts or hire temporary help. Companies need skilled tradesmen who are adept at managing machinery downtime and addressing security issues on-site.

In the tech sector, some companies have started investing heavily in technology like cloud computing and digital resource planning systems in an attempt to attract tech-savvy millennials. Despite this effort, many positions remain unfilled, leaving key areas of businesses exposed.


The Cost of Inaction on Talent Shortages


If not addressed promptly, these labour shortages could prove costly for Canadian industries by affecting both productivity and the bottom line. Not being able to find suitable employees can also slow growth considerably. Inaction may cost up to $30K per employee departure due primarily to lost productivity during recruitment periods and training new hires once onboarded.


The Changing Needs and Priorities of Younger Workers


Younger workers today are reshaping the labour market with their preferences for meaningful and purposeful jobs. No longer seeking just a salary, these employees want to have an effect on the world and continue to seek new opportunities to fulfill that desire throughout their careers.

This changing need has caught the attention of many CEOs, who now prioritize people’s actions in their future plans. The Next Frontier of Workplace Culture shows that younger employees value tech, digital and soft skills more than ever before.


A Response to Talent Shortages


Faced with talent shortages across industries, from mining companies to tech entrepreneurs, CEOs have started realizing that inaction can cost their businesses dearly.

To address this issue, some front-line leaders have turned towards retraining staff or investing in education programs designed specifically for these skill gaps. The result? A growing trend towards workplace cultures that value and foster growth amongst its members.


A Mismatch Between Skills and Job Vacancies in Canada


Canada’s job market currently features a large number of open positions, but not enough qualified individuals to fill them. In the fourth quarter of 2023, over 246,000 jobs needed some level of post-secondary education that candidates lacked.

The problem is clear: it isn’t just about where this talent will come from, but how we can develop these necessary skills from within our own workforce.

We’re seeing talented individuals leaving sectors like security solutions and cloud computing due to a lack of opportunities for growth and development within their roles. In-demand tech roles such as security analysts are going unfilled because businesses aren’t investing sufficiently in training programs designed specifically to close these skill gaps. Fixing this issue requires more than just posting an ad on a job board; it calls for proactive strategies by employers nationwide.


Addressing the Talent Shortage: Industrial Employers’ Strategies


As Canada’s industrial sector wrestles with talent shortages, it’s crucial to act swiftly. But how? Here are some approaches that can assist.


Rebuilding the Industrial Talent Pipeline


In a rapidly changing world, clinging to old ideas simply won’t work. A good start is investing in professional development programs designed specifically for your team. This not only improves skills but also helps workers feel valued – an important aspect that can often be overlooked.

Don’t forget the power of retraining staff from within your own ranks. Consider this surprising fact: only 53% of industrial CEOs prioritize people’s actions in their plans for the future. By increasing focus on developing existing talent, we can bridge skill gaps and boost morale simultaneously.

The next strategy might seem unconventional – encouraging employees to explore roles outside their core business functions as a training ground. Not all tech entrepreneurs have a background in technology; likewise, exposing employees to different parts of the company may unearth hidden talents or interests that could fill vacancies more effectively than some external hires.


Unemployment and Job Vacancies


Canada’s labour market presents a unique paradox. Despite an unemployment rate that includes 296K Canadian-born individuals and 70K immigrants, job vacancies persist across different sectors.

The green revolution, for instance, needs more hands on deck to fuel its growth. But therein lies a problem – not all unemployed people possess the required skills or education level for these open positions.


Tapping into Underutilized Talents


We’ve got a whopping number of skilled workers out there who could potentially fill these roles – about 240K Canadians and another 240K immigrants with appropriate educational backgrounds are left without work. The talent is available, it just needs to match with relevant opportunities.

So how can we bridge this gap? How do businesses address this mismatch between talent supply and demand?




Canada’s talent shortage puzzle isn’t an easy one to crack. Yet, potential answers remain. Understanding where there is a talent shortage in Canada starts with acknowledging the changing needs of younger workers and addressing skill gaps.

Mining industries and tech sectors are feeling the pinch of insufficient skilled labour. Recognizing this helps us see our challenges clearly – imagine looking through clear glass instead of frosted.

A key takeaway? There’s a significant mismatch between skills and job vacancies across different education levels. This means we might need to rethink and reshape our training programs.

In essence, filling the void left by talent shortages means retraining staff effectively and aligning workforce strategies with emerging trends for better future prospects.