Immigrants accounted for two-thirds of Canada’s population growth from 2006 to 2011 and are one solution to the skills shortages facing many Canadian organizations.
Even in the face of tougher economic times and belt-tightening, one of the biggest concerns for most Canadian organizations is finding and keeping the right talent.
One-third of employers say a shortage of talent at all levels is their most pressing HR challenge for 2012, according to a survey by Right Management, the talent and career management experts within ManpowerGroup.
Another 23 per cent of the 182 senior executives and HR professionals surveyed say a lack of high-potential leaders is their top concern, while 20 per cent say their biggest challenges is the loss of top talent to other organizations.
Not only is this skills shortage a concern for individual organizations, it’s threatening Canada’s competitiveness and ability to keep up in a global, knowledge-based economy, according to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
“Canada is developing a desperate labour shortage, and resolving it is key to the continued success of Canadian businesses and the economy,” states the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s report Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness.
The skills shortage is being driven by two phenomena:
- An aging population, which will result in the ratio of Canadian workers per retiree dropping from 4:1 in 2010 to 2:1 by 2035, according to Age of Pension Eligibility, Gains in Life Expectancy and Social Policy.
- Jobs in Canada are becoming more specialized, requiring more educated and skilled workers.
Skilled immigrants are one solution to Canada’s skills shortage and are vital to ensuring Canada’s global competitiveness, as seen in the latest census figures. While Canada’s population grew by 5.9 per cent from 2006 to 2011, surpassing the growth of other G8 countries, it was immigration that accounted for 67 per cent of that growth.
With immigration expected to account for 80 per cent of Canada’s population growth by 2031, the importance of immigrants to Canada’s economy will only increase.