Experts suggest labour shortage is exaggerated

November 12, 2013

A new report published by the Montreal-based Institute for Research on Public Policy states that “Canada is not experiencing labour shortages, nor are widespread ones likely to materialize, although shifts in the economy are creating a new normal for the jobs market.” Cliff Halliwell, former Director General of policy research at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and author of the report, noted that although there are some industries currently experiencing shortages, there are no broad labour shortages because there are more workers than positions. “Rather than focusing on the need to boost labour supply, policy should focus on how to develop, match and fully use the skills of Canadians,” he said. Many US researchers agree that it is a myth that there is a shortage of workers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields, citing rising unemployment rates for workers in STEM fields, and generally flat rates of pay. However, many educators and employers continue to state that there are not enough skilled workers to fill positions, particularly in IT fields. Regardless, many experts suggest the answer is to make sure students receive as broad an education as possible, by combining humanities courses with STEM programs to make “sure that students develop skills that help them interact with other people, and in a creative way ... do more to foster workplaces where innovation would flourish.” Globe and Mail | Chronicle of Higher Education