The Labour Shortage Myth
Since the aftermath of the pandemic, the news has been filled with stories about a global labour shortage. (We covered it, too, in this blog.) Indeed, in 2021, 47.9 million workers quit their jobs, followed by 50 million more in 2022. But the employment climate is changing rapidly, casting doubt on whether we’re still experiencing a labour shortage.
Consider this. There were at least two unemployed individuals with the necessary degree for every job vacancy requiring a university degree in the fourth quarter of last year. This doesn’t point to a shortage. And lest you think this statistic is just an anomaly, the number of unemployed individuals with a bachelor’s or higher degree exceeded the number of vacant positions every quarter from 2016 through 2022.
Add to this the new data from Statistics Canada that reveals the proportion of businesses expecting a shortage of labour to be an obstacle over the next three months saw a downward trend from 37.0% to 30.4% in the first quarter of 2023.
Make no mistake — many companies continue to struggle to fill open positions. With many roles staying vacant longer than usual, the easy conclusion is that there aren’t enough skilled workers available. But based on these recent statistics, there may be another reason for the vacancies. It seems that the talent is out there, but what might be lacking is the tools or the right environment to draw them in and keep them.