Recruitment | peak vacancies

Canadians who wanted to work didn’t have much choice. A record number of vacancies were reached in the first three months of 2022, with Quebec’s number exceeding that of the unemployed.

Updated yesterday at 11:33 PM.

Isabelle Dube

Isabelle Dube

According to data compiled by Statistics Canada, 957,500 jobs were to be filled in the first quarter of 2022. In Quebec, there were 224,370 jobs, while the number of unemployed was fewer, at 190,000.

If we compare the situation with the first quarter of 2020, just before the epidemic filled the entire planet, and at a time when labor shortages were rampant, the increase in the number of job vacancies is enormous. Within two years, there was a 72.3% increase nationally.

This upside is going back even further. It has been running since the first quarter of 2016. The vacancy rate measures the number of vacant jobs as a percentage of total labor demand.

Code red in health care

Many Quebecers have seen it for themselves in the field, and the statistics support their observations: There is an acute shortage of health and social assistance workforces. Moreover, the pandemic has exacerbated the problem.

The number of vacancies in this field reached a new record high of 136,800, an increase of 5% from the peak recorded in the fourth quarter of 2021. Compared to the first quarter of 2020, the increase is 90.9%.

We are looking for registered nurses and registered nurses (+77.8% to reach 22,900), nurses and nursing aids (+166% to reach 11,300) as well as nurses and nurses (+84.2% to reach 21,900).

Strong demand in construction

The construction sector also records a record number of vacancies. Industry players sounded the alarm several months ago and the statistics reflect their concerns.

In the first quarter of 2022, on a seasonally adjusted basis, employers in the construction sector were actively seeking to fill 81,500 vacancies. Compared to the first quarter of 2020, this represents an increase of 107%.

Two years ago, workers (+97%; +8,800) and carpenters-carpenters (+149.1%; +6,600) were in high demand.

New highs were also recorded in the manufacturing and retail sectors. The largest increases were observed in the manufacture of manufactured metal products (+115.7%; +6100), general merchandise stores (+102.3%; +4.700), food stores (+93.2%; +10300) and food processing (+81.8%); +6800).

average increase of 3%

In the face of the increase in the number of vacancies and intense competition to hire talent, some employers have increased salaries.

Across all industries, wages offered rose 2.5% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2022 and average hourly wages for all employees rose 3.0%. The rate is lower than the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which rose by 5.8% during the same period.

Over the past year, employers in certain sectors have loosened their financial constraints further, notably wholesale trade (+9.4% to $26.10), transportation and warehousing (+8.0% to $24.25) and construction (+6.6% to $27.50) and Manufacturing (+6.6% to $23.45).

By comparison, wages increased little or not at all in health care, social assistance (+2.4% to $25.60), utilities (+1.3% to $37, $55) and educational services (-3.5% to $27.30).

demand higher wages

What could explain the large number of job vacancies is the difference between employee salary expectations and what employers offer, which excites Statistics Canada.

In February and March 2022, the Labor Force Survey collected data on the minimum hourly wage that job seekers are willing to accept for a job. In some sectors such as retail, accommodation, restaurants and construction, workers want to be paid 22.4% more than the wages offered.

However, in some sectors, vacancies are due to a shortage of skilled workers. For example, in the health care and social assistance sector, average wages offered were 8.9% higher than wages expected by workers.

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