Shortage of skilled workers and labors in manufacturing sector in Canada has gotten worse recently. In 2021, 82% of manufacturers claimed that they faced immediate shortage of labors. This infographic from Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) highlights the extent of the skilled workers and labor shortage, and the measures that can be taken to solve this issue.
The data collected in 2022 shows that there are more job vacancies available than job seekers. This has happened for the first time since the data collection process in 2015.
Labor shortage is most common skilled production positions and general labor like mechanists and welders. Manufacturing jobs pay an hourly wage of $23.45 which is well above the average minimum wage in Canada of $14.12, yet there is labor shortage. 42% of manufacturers have either paid penalties or lost opportunities due to lack of labor. There are some solutions that the manufacturers and government can apply to address this problem.
1. Increase the number of economic class immigrants
CME recommends a target of 500,000 economic class immigrants per year. The recorded number of immigrants for the year 2022 is 240,000. This means the government needs to increase target immigrants by double. In addition to this, the government can revise the definition of economic class skills to include a wider range of skills needed by employers. Manufacturers can play their part by providing trainings to immigrant workers such as language training or mentorship.
2. Increase employment of under-represented groups and youth
The number of women workers in manufacturing field is almost less than a third of all manufacturing workers. This number is quite low and encouraging women workers in manufacturing field could be quite beneficial. Also, the number of young people who work in manufacturing field is three times lower as compared to what it was in 1976. The government can support employment of these groups by building awareness campaigns, like CME’s Women in Manufacturing initiative and increasing the funding of inclusion programs.
3. Invest in Automation and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies
Investment in updated equipment, software and modern machinery has strong positive correlation with higher productivity. Canada is one country that has seen lowest levels of capital investment and productivity growth in manufacturing which has harmed its global competitiveness. Data shows that only 55% of manufacturers plan to invest in advance technologies by the year 2023. Some steps that the government can take in this regard could be:
· Develop awareness campaigns on how adoption of different technologies could be beneficial.
· Work with different schools to make sure that the curriculum matches the manufacturers’ demands.
· Apply an investment tax credit to offer financial support.
· Provide financial support for training programs.
In a nutshell, it is quite necessary that the manufacturers and government work together to address the problem of shortage of skilled workers and labors in Canada.
Infographic by: visualcapitalist