• 5.6




Key drivers

Labour Market Participation (5.0)

The participation rate is forecast to increase slightly this year, after falling for nine out of the last ten years, meaning the number of people available for firms to recruit will increase.

Talent Mismatch (6.0)

The share of unemployed people that have been out of work for over a year has risen in Canada, giving rise to concerns about the erosion of these peoples’ skills.

Overall Wage Pressure (3.9)

Real wage growth is forecast to slow in Canada this year, easing the pressure on employers’ 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

2018 was a strong year for the Canadian economy. Despite the declining unemployment rate, the skills gap continues to widen. The higher Talent Mismatch score signifies that employers are struggling to find the highly skilled talent they require. As a result, the bulk of employers are spending outside of their budgets to attract and secure highly skilled talent. Changing organisational structure and policies is also more common than providing internal training and development when it comes to addressing productivity concerns. Professionals must continually upskill and find new experiences in order to remain relevant and employable. Employers can better attract and retain talent by focusing on career growth and development programs for their hires.

Rowan O’Grady, President, Hays Canada

Key Skills in Demand

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

Market Insight

GDP growth fell to 1.9% in 2018 and is expected to reduce further in 2019 due to oil production cuts in Alberta and sluggish business investment.

There is some evidence of labour shortages. The unemployment rate in Canada fell to a 45-year low, reaching 5.8% in 2018. The Bank of Canada’s Business Outlook Survey reported that an average of 34% of firms surveyed were facing labour shortages restricting their ability to meet demand, across the four surveys in 2018. A net balance of +38% of firms reported the intensity of their labour shortages had increased relative to decreased compared to a year earlier – albeit both Indicators eased somewhat in the Q1 2019 survey.

In 2018, the Government introduced measures to incentivise women to participate in the labour force. They have also announced a plan to raise annual immigration targets to 340,000 by 2020, up from 300,000 in 2017. Both should boost the supply of skilled labour.