Throughout 2021, Canadian and US labour markets experienced major shifts - largely due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. While there are notable similarities between the two countries' employment trends – like millions of unfilled jobs and aging workforces – some shifts are distinct to each country, and likely will impact hiring trends in 2022.
Canada is recovering faster – or is it?
According to recent Canadian Labour Market findings by the Indeed Hiring Lab, as of November 2021, Canada’s labour market has recovered faster than the US market.
Canadian employment rates approached the end of 2021 closer to their pre-pandemic levels than United States employment levels did. This recovery was led by stronger rebounds across a range of mid- and high-paying industries.
Industries like professional and technical services, health care and social assistance, and construction have led the way for Canada’s relative rebound. However, Canada’s predominantly high-paying industry growth may translate to a disproportionate recovery that leaves lower-paying industries – and the people who work in them – at a disadvantage.
Employment rates have increased among parents of young children more strongly in Canada as compared to the US. The share of Canadian mothers and fathers who were working was up 1.8 percentage points in November from its pre-pandemic level.
One trend that has likely aided the Canadian recovery is that workers of different demographics have been able to shift towards growing sectors. However, employment in Canadian hospitality and restaurant industries remain stalled, and jobs in these industries typically are filled by women.
Greater volatility means gains in wages and self-employment in the US
However, there are two gains in the US labour market that haven’t surfaced in Canada. First, US workers are switching jobs more frequently, while Canadian job switching was relatively subdued throughout the year. As a result, year-over-year wage growth stood at +4.6 percent in the US in the third quarter, 2 percentage points higher than in Canada. Secondly, there’s one reversed trend: Canadian self-employment is dropping as the job market has recovered, while self-employment in the US in 2022 is above pre-pandemic levels.
Beyond the 9 to 5
Another trend across Canada and the US, across all types of roles and industries, both job seekers and current employees are looking for more from their work and their workplace. More than higher pay, promotions, or perks, many workers are seeking employment that fulfills needs like self-worth, purpose, and quality of life. And in what is arguably the tightest labour market in decades, this puts more power than ever in the hands of the talent we need to run our businesses and grow their careers.
To their credit, job seekers are using that power to demand more fulfilling jobs and work – and “fulfilling” means different things to different people. From higher pay to remote work to flexible shifts to child care and more, employees are sending a clear signal – give me what I need to thrive, or I’ll go somewhere else that does.
There are many names for this phenomenon – ‘The Big Quit,’ ‘The Great Resignation’ and ‘The Great Re-Evaluation’ come to mind. Whatever you call it, it is real. Although Canada has not experienced “the Great Re-Evaluation” as significantly as the US, the 2022 Canadian labour market is impacted by more secular trends coinciding with the pandemic: a workforce increasingly made up of millennials and Gen Zs who are redefining the role of work in their lives, and a significant population of baby boomers who are retiring in greater numbers.
Spend more time with talent, less time on tasks
The biggest obstacle employers share is that while they want to plan and implement positive changes that will make their company a desirable place to work, and spend more time on the human elements of hiring, they simply can’t find the time.
From intake meetings to sourcing and screening candidates to scheduling interviews to collecting feedback and more, the fundamental operations of recruiting and hiring still consume 80 to 90 percent of a recruiting team's time. Automating these tasks will free up organizations to spend more time on high-impact talent strategies like ensuring fairness and skill-based hiring, looking to their current talent pool for transferable skills, boomerang campaigns to bring back former employees and early retirees, and investing in their employer brand to attract talent.
Employees today have more choice and control than ever before over what, how and where they work. Employers that don’t appreciate this power shift and that fail to adapt to these new hiring and workplace realities could miss out on the best talent, and lose the opportunity to engage their workforce and sustainably grow the business for the long term.
If you’d like to learn more about improving talent attraction and retention efforts at your company, reach out.