in 2017


Key drivers

Wage pressure in high-skill industries (9.2)

Wage growth in high-skill industries continues to outpace that in lower-skill ones. Fast wage growth in management and finance sectors has driven the widening wage gap.

Labour market participation (5.7)

Labour market participation rates are expected to decline modestly this year. This trend is forecast to continue in the medium term.

Overall wage pressure (4.2)

Real wage growth is forecast to accelerate this year, towards historic norms. This will put greater pressure on firms’ wage bills.


Education flexibility


Labour market participation


Labour market flexibility


Talent mismatch


Overall wage pressure


Wage pressure in high-skill industries


Wage pressure in high-skill occupation


Rowan O’Grady

President, Hays Canada

View from the Ground

Predictions of 1.8% growth for 2018 indicate steady continued growth for Canada. Ongoing trade negotiations are creating uncertainty for many sectors that rely on the import/export market, while mercurial housing markets in most major centres are a cause for concern for many Canadian workers. Pay rates have remained largely stagnant since the 2015 oil and gas downturn, but growing demand for talent and low unemployment is driving wages up, with average pay growth reaching a six-year high in April 2018. High wage pressure is already affecting high-skill, talent-short sectors, such as construction, technology and finance.

Rowan O’Grady, President, Hays Canada

COUNTRY profile

Unemployment in Canada has fallen to a 40-year low, as the economy continues to charge ahead. GDP rose by around 3% in 2017, faster than any other country in the G7. With strong demand for labour, average pay growth reached a six-year high in April 2018.

However, forecasters predict both GDP and employment growth will slow across the remainder of the year, with unemployment rising to some extent as job creation weakens.

Over the longer term to 2030, Canada is expected to see faster population growth than other G7 countries and much of Europe, helping to ensure a supply of skilled labour for years to come.

Key skills in demand

  • Software Developers
  • Cyber Security Professionals
  • Construction Estimators
  • Skilled Tradespeople
  • Construction Project Managers