Alberta Trade Industry Overview and Trends

Growing concerns about a skilled labour shortage in Canada are our reality, and Alberta is no exception

Canada’s skilled trades labour shortage is getting worse according to a new report which shows that 21% of the current labour force will retire by 2030 and not enough new people are entering the industry to cover these retirements. According to the latest CIBC report, there is a record high job vacancy rate in construction with around 800,000 vacancies.

Due to Canada’s housing crisis across the country and the Government’s effort to invest in new housing units, there is a lack of workforce to do that. Contractors are really struggling to find new labourers even though new job ads are constantly coming out. Lots of efforts have been there in Alberta to encourage people to get into trades, but the interest remains low.

Alberta’s Occupational Outlook

Newest Alberta’s Occupational Outlook released by the Government predicts that by 2030 labour market will experience potential shortages or surpluses depending on the occupation.

The following occupations are forecasted with a labour shortage by 2030:

  • construction trades helpers and labourers
  • program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness
  • landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers
  • registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
  • home building and renovation managers
  • information systems analysts and consultants
  • contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
  • computer programmers and interactive media developers
  • graphic designers and illustrators
  • elementary and secondary school teacher assistants

It is highlighted that there will be a major shortage of registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses over the next 2 years. The same can be reflected in other health occupations.

Labour shortages in 2023

Recruiting skilled workers is expected to be an obstacle for nearly 36.9% of all businesses, led by construction, manufacturing, accommodation and food services. In addition, labour shortage is expected for 35% of businesses, while retaining skilled employees is expected to be an obstacle for 27.6% of businesses.

Among businesses that expect labour shortages or recruiting or retaining skilled workers to be an obstacle, over 45% anticipate increased working hours due to these challenges.

Hiring more temporary foreign workers

The labour shortage in Canada has posed significant challenges for both businesses and workers. To overcome these hurdles and foster a more robust workforce, proactive strategies are essential. With the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), Canadian employers have the ability to temporarily hire foreign nationals in order to fill shortages in Canada’s labour force.

Approvals to fill job vacancies with temporary foreign workers more than doubled in the July-September 2023 period compared with the same months in the previous years. In sales and service occupations, the number of approvals to hire temporary foreign workers even tripled.

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