09 Feb 2022
While the coronavirus pandemic has left its mark on Canadian employment, the country’s job market has shown some promising signs of recovery. One of these signs is the recent jump in the overall number of job vacancies recorded in the third quarter of 2021.
However, not all sectors show the same amount of growth in their job openings. This leaves the overall unemployment records still lower than before the pandemic. Here is a general outlook on Canada’s current job vacancy stats.
Sectors With The Highest Job Vacancy Rates
According to the latest statistical records, Canada had 912,600 job openings in the third quarter of 2021. This is a staggering 62.1 % increase compared to the same period back in 2019. Needless to say, due to the pandemic, labor demand has dwindled in some sectors but even considering this, the overall job vacancy rate has risen by 5.4%. When considering the state of the matter across the different provinces, Nova Scotia had a slightly smaller increase in vacancies. Whereas provinces such as Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Quebec were hit with much higher unoccupied positions.
Although job vacancies have been on the rise in 18 of the 20 principal industrial sectors in the country, the issue has not affected all sectors the same way. In fact, around 60% of the empty positions were recorded in the disciplines where the unmet labor demand has continued to rise. These sectors are social and healthcare, the hospitality and food industry, retail, manufacturing, and construction.
Due to the increasing age of the local population, these jobs were in high demand for at least five consecutive years, but the recent events have only exaggerated the situation. On the other hand, in the sectors such as fishing, hunting, agriculture, rental, leasing, and real estate, the number of vacancies at the end of 2021 isn’t showing any incline compared with the same period of 2019.
Even prior to the pressure caused by the pandemic, the healthcare system has already been increasing its number of employees. Now, they have an even greater need for qualified workers, similarly to the retail, food services, and accommodation sectors which, after a temporary downsizing during the lockdown, now wish to resume operation with their regular number of employees. In healthcare or the food industry, employers are trying to fulfill the positions by increasing the average payroll, this is not the case in construction, where the wages saw very little change.
Factors That Affect Job Vacancy Rates
The two factors having the most significant impact on these numbers are declining unemployment rates and overall employment growth. As the Canadian economy does its best to bounce back from the staggering blow of the pandemic, this allows employers to open up new positions. Because many of the public health restrictions were also lifted, higher customer demand has become noticeable, further contributing to the latest vacancy rates.
Naturally, many other factors played a part in shaping the current state of the Canadian employment market. For example, in various sectors, the labor demand was unmet due to its significant increase, such was the case in the health sector. In other sectors, employees were forced to leave their positions due to the sudden changes in the skill profile that was required of them. Some decided to change their occupation and find something that was more suitable for their skill levels, while others have decided to upgrade their skills so they could find jobs with better wages.
Foreign seasonal workers and students could no longer fulfill their positions – nor can they find new ones as easily as they did before due to travel and other personal safety restrictions. Since these are typically low-wage jobs, they were ultimately left vacant for the better part of the last two years. In some sectors, the increased vacancies were due to shortages of specific skills or simply because of the geographical restrictions imposed by the new travel and safety guidelines within the country.
How Do The Wages Compare
It’s important to note that employment vacancies are more pronounced in disciplines where the average wages are on the lower side. Albeit this is not a new phenomenon, the average number of employees in these sectors has fallen by 2.7%, while the rate of vacancies in the same fields has risen by 2%, compared to the third quarter of 2019.
In comparison, the occupations with higher average wages saw a 9.4% decline in their share of vacancies between October 2019 and October 2021. There is also a drop of 6% in the unemployment rate in the last two months of 2021. This is partly because, in these sectors, the average rates have risen by 4.3% during the same two-year period.
The average wage in occupations with the highest raise in employment vacancies, such as construction, healthcare workers, restaurant workers and retail employees, has been raised by 9.7%. The hourly wages in the same sectors have already been increased by between 4.9 and 6.6 percent, depending on the profession.
It’s also true that in many of these sectors, employers are looking for more specific and advanced skill sets than they did before. In almost 90% of vacant positions, the candidates are expected to have active listening and critical thinking skills. The ability to solve complex problems without their supervisors’ intervention and social perceptiveness is also in demand in these sectors.
The record-high job vacancies cannot provide an ideal solution for unemployment in all sectors. Nevertheless, their statistics provide essential information about the disciplines that do need more workers. It also allows employers to channel their resources in a direction that will result in a higher employment rate.
Offering higher wages is one solution to increase occupational rates in these sectors, but it’s not the only one. Due to the ongoing pandemic, workers and students preparing to work in these fields demand more security and benefits. This also applies to the immigrants who, due to the new laws and safety regulations, can’t secure proper education or a permanent work position in Canada.