Embracing the Face of Dynamic Change
By Lori Jazvac.
Our labour market is dynamic: it goes through continuous change. Local concerns often can be directly attributed to regional, national, and global activities.
Ebbs and flows in our labour market are interconnected. For example, in the first quarter of this year, HRDC reported that employment in the construction and manufacturing industries declined, while considerable gains ensued in accommodation, food services, and trade.
Oil prices continue to plummet in western Canada, affecting the bottom line of businesses in all provinces. Ontario has seen restructuring in manufacturing, grocery chains, and a host of other companies that require transportation of goods.
Specific examples include Rexall, a leading pharmacy retailer, being sold to a US buyer for a whopping 3 billion dollars; retail stores, such as Danier Leather, liquidating; and approximately 450 workers, many with disabilities, losing their livelihood when 16 Goodwill stores closed due to a serious cash flow crisis.
International events also impinge on local markets. The demise of steel giant, U.S. Steel, formerly known as Stelco, reshaped “steel town” (Hamilton, Ontario) due to serious loss of employment and business growth in that industry. The trickle-down effect from lack of income and, therefore, spending money, negatively impacts revenues of other companies and industries in the area.
Valuable Labour Market Information
What do all these labour market trends mean?
These events affect the supply and demand in the labour force across Canada. For example, the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities reported these stunning facts earlier this year:
- 11.5 million people in Ontario were aged 15 years or older.
- 7.5 million – or 65% – were either working or actively looking for work.
- 7.0 million were employed and 82% of them had a full time job.
- Ontario’s unemployment rate was 6.7%, with 505,600 people unemployed.
Tracking the movement of labour market events, both locally and nationally, is the primary key to helping job seekers understand which occupations present opportunities, and which ones do not (those facing shortages or a worker surplus). Investigating various labour market trends across the board will equip you with reliable tools to forecast the impact of similar events in other provinces. Understanding the influence of these trends will facilitate meaningful job search strategies, career exploration, and sound decision making.
There are many labour market sources available, including HRDC Job Bank, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, WorkBC’s Career ToolKit, and local newspapers. Ontario Job Futures provides insightful information on trends and future outlooks for approximately 200 occupations common to Ontario. These sources can help prepare our clients to develop their marketable skills where skill shortages exist and access meaningful opportunities in high-demand industries.
What to Expect in the Future
Many existing jobs will be reshaped by changing technologies, new products, foreign trade, changing consumer preferences, and globalization. This will create many new jobs in information technology, trades, finance, and data science. Here is what else we can expect:
- Competition will increase, partly due to the re-entry of baby boomers into the labour force.
- Many professionals will need to upgrade their skills and education, change jobs, or shift careers.
- The trend towards higher educational achievement is expected to continue.
- The recent influx of newcomers into Canada will continue to shape the labour force with increasing workplace competition, along with a need for intercultural sensitivity and in-depth skills training programs.
- An increasing number of professionals will start their own businesses, adding to the growing freelance, or “gig economy”, and paving the way for boundless creativity and innovation.
We are all influenced by an unpredictable economy and ever-changing labour market trends. As resourceful career practitioners, we need to employ a strategic and analytical approach to understanding the “big picture” in order to continue empowering our clients.