In Canada, Average Hourly Wages Increase as Job Vacancies Remain High

In Statistics Canada’s third-quarter report on job vacancies, they found that Canada continues to face labour shortages, as employers sought to fill nearly a million (959,600) positions.

Job openings are considered vacant if:

  • A specific position exists;
  • Work could start within 30 days; and
  • The employer is actively looking for workers from outside the organization to fill the position.

There were 1.1 people per job vacancy in Canada in the third quarter of 2022, despite a 3.3% decline from the record-high number of vacant positions at the beginning of the year (993,200).

Employers Increase Wages in Order to Attract More Workers

Employers have increased their wages for vacant positions as a result of tight labour markets and difficulty filling vacancies. The average hourly wage offered increased by 7.5% from the same quarter a year earlier.

There were some occupation categories with wage increases even higher than the national average, such as:

  • Management in trades, transportation, production, and utilities (+10.8% to $41.40 an hour)
  • Providing health services (+10.7% to $22.45 an hour)
  • Manufacturing assemblers (+10.4% to 20.05 per hour)
  • Workers in the processing and manufacturing industries (+10.2% to $20.02 an hour)

At the same time, the average hourly wage of all workers rose by 5.3%.

How Many Jobs are Available in Canada’s High-Demand Sectors?

As of the third quarter of 2022, Canada had a record number of unfilled positions in the healthcare and social assistance sector. Over 150,100 positions remained unfilled.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for more healthcare workers has been persistent; Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has taken steps to address this historic labour shortage by removing barriers to permanent residency for physicians and streamlining accreditation for foreign-educated healthcare professionals.

A notable number of vacancies were also seen in the following industries:

  • There are 140,000 vacancies in the accommodation and food services industry
  • There were 81,000 vacant positions in the construction industry, a historic high
  • A total of 63,100 job openings are available in the scientific and technical services industry

What Provinces Have the Most Job Openings?

In Q3, some provinces experienced more growth in open positions than others despite the overall high number of job vacancies.

It is once again evident that the need for labour is increasing, as both Manitoba and Saskatchewan reported an increase in job vacancies in Q3 of 10.7% and 7.5% respectively.

Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia all saw decreases in the number of job vacancies compared to the second quarter of 2022. Despite these decreases, job vacancies remain high across Canada:

  • British Columbia: 155,400 vacancies;
  • Manitoba: 32,400 vacancies;
  • Ontario: 364,000 vacancies;
  • Quebec: 232,400 vacancies;
  • Saskatchewan: 24,300 vacancies;
  • Alberta: 103,380 vacancies*;
  • New Brunswick: 16,430 vacancies*;
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 8,185 vacancies*;
  • Northwest Territories: 1,820 vacancies*;
  • Nova Scotia: 22,960 vacancies*;
  • Nunavut: 405 vacancies*; and
  • Prince Edward Island: 4,090 vacancies*;
  • Yukon: 1,720 vacancies.

* These are not seasonally adjusted figures.

The percentage of vacant positions compared to total labour demand (both vacant and occupied positions) continued to be highest in British Columbia and Quebec, at 6.2% and 5.8%, respectively.

Taking a look ahead

With the government looking to address labour shortages, the Express Entry system will likely see a trend of targeted draws for in-demand professions in 2023.

These changes may provide some insight into what occupations IRCC is likely to target for ITAs in 2023, based on statistics such as job vacancies within a sector.

In addition, Canada is already taking measures to maximize its workforce within the country, including granting Open Work Permits (OPWs) to families of LMIA-based work permit holders and unrestricting the number of hours that international students can work.

As a result of these policy changes, along with the data above, it is evident that 2023 will be a good year for hiring.

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