Monthly Archives

August 2011

Canada’s changing labour force: Where will we be in 20 years?

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In a hot-off-the-press study from Statistics Canada, a number of “projection scenarios” were used to get a glimpse of the Canadian labour force – twenty years into the future.

The first projection suggested that our labour force will grow slowly, to between 20.5 and 22.5 million by 2031 (from approximately 18.5 million, currently). The reason for this sluggish growth is the inevitable retirement of baby boomers. Overall “participation rate” (% of total population that is in the labour force) is actually expected to decline.

The study also predicts that within ten years, a record-setting one in four workers will be 55 years of age or older.

Cultural diversity is also expected to increase, according to Stats Can. By 2031, a third of our labour force may be “foreign born.”

So, what does this mean for employers?

Quite simply, it means that change is on the horizon, and Canadian employers that consider the trends in their strategic planning will be best prepared to compete in this increasingly dynamic and global market.

The data makes a great case for employing youth. Investing in entry level talent today can help foster the middle management and senior leaders of tomorrow. Twenty years from now, today’s Career Edge interns will represent skilled and experienced workers that will play a crucial role in filling the gap created by a mass baby boomer exodus.
Trends towards an increasingly foreign labour force means that employers that are not adequately equipped to recruit and retain internationally qualified professionals will be missing out on a third of Canada’s available talent.

Time will only tell whether the images conjured in Stats Canada’s crystal ball will come to life. In the mean time, Career Edge Organization’s host employers are getting proactive, drawing upon our tools, resources and top talent to address both short-term and long-term needs.

Survey: “Canadian CEOs expect challenges in recruiting and integrating younger workers”

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According to Canadian HR Reporter, “75 per cent of Canadian CEOs expect challenges in recruiting and integrating younger workers, compared to just 54 per cent of their global counterparts.”

A survey of 1,201 CEOs worldwide, conducted by PwC (and recently feature in a Canadian HR Reporter article) found that Canadian CEOs are also more focused on recruiting and retaining older workers than their global counterparts.

The explanation for this is twofold: as most employers are well aware, Canada’s population is aging. The article points out that Career Edge Organization Host Employer BMO Bank of Montreal has over 46,000 employees who are “experienced workers,” and the bank continues to invest in programs to ensure continued retention. Examples include mentoring programs and flexible work arrangements as well as ongoing training and professional development.

BMO is not alone. 83 per cent of the Canadian CEOs surveyed expect that a key concern in coming years will be the limited supply of skilled candidates – compared to 66 per cent globally.

Many of Career Edge Organization’s host employers are thinking “outside-the-box” to address the issue of retirement and looming skills shortages that have been on the horizon for several years now. While strategies include programs to retain older workers, employers are also building new talent pipeline, and considering untapped talent pools.

Canada is very fortunate to be a destination of choice for internationally qualified professionals – immigrants who bring experience, education and skills to the table, as well as the added benefit of unique and diverse perspectives.

Looking at our Career Bridge paid internship program’s talent pool, it’s hard to imagine any shortage of skills. Consider the stats:

  • Over 60 per cent of our registrants have a Masters degree or higher
  • 80% have at least five years of relevant work experience
  • 51% have been in the workforce for at least 10 years
  • The majority are bilingual – with strong English business communication skills as well as other languages that can help companies compete globally as well as better serve diverse customers locally

Employers looking to develop the skills of younger or less experienced workers turn to our Career Edge and Ability Edge paid internship programs, for recent graduates and grads with disabilities, respectively. This employers are long-term thinkers with sustainability in mind. And it works! Some of our original Career Edge interns from 1996 are now still with their Host organizations, in leadership roles.

The PwC survey is a positive sign that organizational leaders are recognizing the potential talent management challenges that lie ahead, and we’re happy to share solutions and best practices.

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