If you are looking for a job, despite a tough economy and gloomy forecasts for the labour market, some signs are emerging that Canadian employers are and plan to continue hiring.
The recent jobs reports from Statistics Canada showed employers added 150,000 jobs in January — compared with expectations for just 15,000 — building on several months of gains. As stated in Statistics Canada, employment increased by 150,000 (+0.8%) in January, and the unemployment rate held steady at 5.0%.
Employment gains were driven primarily by people aged 25 to 54 (+100,000; +0.8%), split evenly between women and men in this group. Employment also increased among people aged 55 and older (+43,000, +1.0%), while little changed among youth aged 15 to 24.
The most significant employment increases were in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta.
There were gains across several industries, led by wholesale and retail trade, health care and social assistance, and educational services. At the same time, employment declined in transportation and warehousing.
Half of the Canadian companies are planning to hire for full-time positions in the first half of this year (up 40% from the second half of last year), according to recruitment firm Robert Half’s survey of nearly 1,450 managers. From the survey, while many companies are eager to hire, 9 in 10 managers said it’s challenging to find skilled professionals, on par with the prior State of Canadian Hiring Survey results. Employers also reported it could take up to 14 weeks, on average, to hire for an open position, up from 8 weeks in 2021.
“The start of the new year is an especially robust time for hiring, as new projects begin and headcount budgets are confirmed to support fresh business goals,” said David King, Senior Managing Director, Robert Half, Canada and South America. “Employers should be prepared to offer competitive salaries, perks, and benefits to attract and retain top talent in this tight labour market.”
Meanwhile, hiring and demand are growing in areas like health care, education, retail, and service, prompting the government to ramp up immigration and issue more work permits, says the Toronto Star.
Pedro Antunes, the chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, says employers are still “desperate for workers” as job momentum continues.
Beyond the next few months, there’s reason to think labour shortages may persist: While Canadian baby boomers have so far been more reluctant to retire than their U.S. counterparts, an additional one million people will be 65 or older by 2025, with roughly 900,000 workers forecast to stop working in the next three years, according to TD Economics.