The Skills Shortage

Canada is beginning to feel the effects of a shortage of skilled tradespeople. While this may be a challenge for industry, it signals tremendous opportunity for Trades people. It also emphasizes the importance of career facilitators such as and its numerous sister Trade sites. Matching skilled Trades people with available jobs across Canada is key to maximizing Canada’s workforce – getting the right people in the right jobs at the right time! Here’s some interesting information taken from the Canada’s Skilled Trades Website (

  • Almost 50% of businesses surveyed in 2003 said a shortage of qualified labour was one of the most important issues facing them. Moreover, 56% of firms said they were forced to hire people even though they were not suitable and almost 30% said they had foregone business opportunities (Canadian Federation of Independent Business, 2003).
  • Canada is already short between 25,000 and 60,000 workers (Canadian Construction Association).
  • The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said the existing skills shortage among smaller businesses was already as high as 300,000 in 2001.
  • In the construction sector, the total labour force declined by about 12,000 or 1.4%
  • In the next two decades, 40% of new jobs will be in the skilled trades and technologies. In 1998, that number was less than 20%.
  • In Canada, the shortfall has been estimated at no fewer than 20,000 unfilled jobs, growing to 50,000 by the year 2010.
  • By 2020, it is estimated that Canada could be short about 1 million workers due to an ageing population and declining birth rates.
  • The percentage of workers aged between 55 and 64 years, who are nearing typical retirement ages, rose from 8.6 percent to 9.6 percent between 1991 and 2001.
  • The first baby-boomers are due to reach retirement age by 2012. In 2015, almost half the workforce (48%) will be between the ages of 45 to 64. By 2026, more than half the population will be over the age of 43.
  • In the steel industry, 45% of all tradespeople are expected to retire by 2006.
  • In the manufacturing sector, there is an estimated 400,000 workers required in the next 15 years due to retirement.
  • 50,000 skilled metal trades’ people will be needed in the next five years.
  • Between 18,000 and 19,000 new jobs will be created within the next 5 years in the collision industry.
  • Canada’s automotive industry will need 30,000 new skilled workers by 2005, due to retirement.
  • The Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association forecasts a 42% vacancy rate for skilled trades by 2007 — nearly 34,000 jobs but only 20,000 skilled workers will be available.