Canadian job market a tale of have and have not occupations: CIBC

Occupations with signs of skills shortages include many positions in traditional health care roles

TORONTO/CNW/ – Canada’s job market shows a growing divide between have and have not occupations, finds a new report from CIBC World Markets.

“On one hand, jobs go unfilled for long stretches due to a lack of skilled applicants,” says CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal. “In fact, the Prime Minister recently described skills shortages in the Canadian labour market as ‘the biggest challenge our country faces’.

In his analysis, Mr. Tal found that traditional occupations like butchers, bakers, tailors, labourers in manufacturing, office managers and clerks are showing signs of labour surplus, along with secondary and elementary school teachers.

He found that the occupations with signs of skills shortages include many positions in traditional health care roles, such as doctors, nurses and dentists. The health care list also includes optometrists, chiropractors, pharmacists, dietitians and nutritionists. Mining, engineering and science occupations are also facing skill shortages.

No less than 30 per cent of businesses indicate that they face a skilled labour shortage, which is double the rate seen in early 2010.

“The recent acceleration in that ratio has coincided with a stagnating employment rate loosely illustrating the negative impact of skill shortages on employment growth,” notes Tal. “What’s more, while you will not see it in the relatively stable trajectory of the unemployment rate, the number of job vacancies reported by firms has risen by close to 16 per cent over the past year. It is hardly a surprise that the highest vacancy rate is in Alberta, followed by Saskatchewan.”

By far, the largest skill shortage was found in health-related occupations, the mining industry, advanced manufacturing and business services.

“One-fifth of the Canadian labour market is currently showing signs of skilled labour shortage,” says Tal. “The average unemployment rate of this pool of occupations is just over one per cent and their wages are now rising by an average annual rate of 3.9 per cent — more than double the rate seen in the economy as a whole.

 

“Overall employment in this group is rising by 2.1 per cent — much faster than the speed seen in the rest of the market, but obviously not fast enough to dent the labour market skill scarcity. In this context, the recently announced government plans to admit between 53,000 and 55,000 new Canadians in 2013 through an overhauled federal skilled worker program is a welcome development. However, it’s simply not large enough to turn things around. Ditto for the increased focus on apprenticeship. Despite recent program improvements, the number of certificates granted to apprentices is still a fraction of the overall size of the skilled trades labour pool.”