Quebec workforce left ailing by Covid-19 pandemic


Quebec workforce left ailing by Covid-19 pandemic

Quebec’s workforce is left hurting following the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a study.

The report, conducted by the Institute du Quebec, tries to determine the current state of Quebec’s labour market by posing key questions that emerged during the pandemic.

The report suggests Quebec’s demand for skilled workers will continue to grow in 2022, particularly in the health care, information technology, educational services, social assistance and construction sectors.

According to the report, previously-existing labour shortages have been exacerbated by public health measures due to the pandemic, resulting in Quebec’s workforce facing new challenges.

Mia Homsy, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute du Quebec, said the province started 2022 with record job vacancies and the lowest unemployment rate in years.

She also said Quebec’s labour pool is facing a lack of skilled workers, and a decrease in the number of workforce participants aged 55 and above could lead to the skills gap rising even further.

Ms. Homsy warned that the labour shortage in Quebec is set to become the biggest obstacle to post-pandemic recovery unless the provincial government, businesses and schools shift their stance on how to approach human resources management.

The report also finds that Quebec’s aging population will continue to have an impact on the provincial labour market; many workers are approaching retirement age, while some are not yet fully back to work.

Moreover, it could be difficult to convince early retirees in the province to return to work.

Employers, particularly in the food services, accommodation, and retail industries, could also have to rethink their business models to ease labour shortages in Quebec.

After many occupations shifted online during the pandemic, job vacancies that do not offer a work from home or hybrid work mode option could become less desirable to potential employees.

Employers with high requirements could also have to lower their hiring standards, especially those related to academic credentials. This would also mean the educational qualifications for a given job may be more lenient than before the pandemic.

Quebec – along with the rest of Canada – is struggling with digital literacy, which could prompt many professions to seek candidates with strong reading, writing and solving skills.

Employers could also focus on professional development and in-house training to maintain competitiveness in their industries.

Quebec has already started taking actions to address labour shortages, such as increasing immigration levels and easing requirements for employers to hire temporary foreign workers.

The province is set to welcome more than 70,000 new permanent residents in 2022 to make up for the newcomers who were unable to move to Quebec during the pandemic.