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Retirement-driven skills shortage to slow growth of Canadian manufacturing

Published by Brad Fougere on March 01, 2016

The future of Canadian manufacturing growth will be impacted by a shortage of skilled workers. A recent study of manufacturers across the country by Canadian Skills Training & Employment Coalition (CSTEC) and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) found significant growth challenges related to skills shortages, training and succession planning.

The report, released today contains two years of collected data, shows that while 61 per cent of manufacturers surveyed are optimistic about growth in demand for their goods over the next 3 years, 83 per cent of manufacturers experienced challenges hiring the skilled workers that they need. Worse, the shortage is expected to hasten over the next 10 years as manufacturers will have to replace more than 20 per cent of their workforce due to retirement.

“These forecasts reveal that serious skills shortages are looming over the next 10 years as manufacturers try to replace retiring tradespersons and technicians,” said CSTEC Executive Director Ken Delaney.If current trends continue, there will be intense competition for skilled employees not only among manufacturers but also from other sectors including utilities, mining and construction.”

This data validates warnings that Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been sounding for a number of years says CME Vice President, Ontario Ian Howcroft. “Fifty-six per cent of respondents to our most recent Management Issues Survey said they are dealing with labour and skills shortages,” Howcroft said. “These reports should be a wakeup call for many provincial leaders, especially here in Ontario, that we need to look at ways to encourage enrolment in manufacturing programs and, vitally, find new ways to train workers that prepare them for the new manufacturing sector.”

The creation of regional forecasts for the labour market enables employers to understand the severity of future shortages in their local workforce according to Delaney. “To us, this indicates that government, industry, educational institutions and labour unions across the country must work together to develop innovative solutions to these challenges,” he says.

The national report provides detailed regional outlooks and manufacturing labour market forecasts for 15 regions across Canada.

Over the next year, CSTEC and CME will update the regional labour market forecasts and release a second national report that will provide an overview of the manufacturing labour market across the 15 regions.

If you work in the manufacturing sector and want to contribute to the national discussion on the future of the manufacturing workforce, join one of the regional industry committees:

The regional reports can be found here:

The national report can be found here

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Found in: Skills gap lmi

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