2014 is set to mark the beginning of the Baby Boomer exodus from the workforce, so just who will fill Canada’s growing skills gap?
TORONTO, March 17, 2014 /CNW/ – With Baby Boomers already beginning to retire en masse, Canada will face immense skills shortages and a shrinking labour market that threaten the economy’s long-term potential for growth and sustainability.
The Department of Finance Canada reports that the aging population is expected to lead to lower growth in output and income, while increasing the possibility of labour shortages1. Though the looming departure of the Baby Boomers from the workforce is expected to open up job opportunities and bring unemployment down to 6.0%2 (from today’s 7.0%), it will also tighten Canada’s labour market and put increasing pressure on employers to invest in recruitment and retention initiatives in order to sustain productivity and economic performance.
“Economic growth will be restrained as the baby boomers leave the workforce. Labour shortages brought on by a wave of retirements will be the dominant economic trend until about 2030.” said Pedro Antunes, Director, National and Provincial Outlook at the Conference Board of Canada.
Baby Boomer retirement in conjunction with continuously declining birth rates support the need for strong immigration strategies as employers face skills shortages and other recruitment difficulties now and over the next 15-20 years. The federal government, as well as provincial governments, have recognized this need and have initiated legislation and programming to begin attracting talent from around the world.
“We need to ensure that Ontario businesses have the skilled workers they need to stay competitive in today’s global economy,” said Michael Coteau, Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration when announcing the proposed Ontario Immigration Act on February 19, 2014. “As critical as immigration has been to our past, and our present, it will be even more vital to our future,” he said.