Labour market trends in Canada and how they may impact international students

Credit to Author: Canadian Immigrant| Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2022 12:31:50 +0000

By Meti Basiri, the CMO and Co-Founder of ApplyBoard.

Deciding to study abroad is one of the most difficult decisions that students will have to make. Before selecting the country and the institution, they must take into account personal finances, future aspirations, and most importantly, their career goals.

Canada is a popular study abroad destination because it offers strong career possibilities and allows them the opportunity to stay and work in the country after graduation. Many international students in Canada plan to apply for the popular Canadian Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) prior to applying for permanent residency (PR).

Here are some recent labour market trends in Canada from 2021 that are shaping the future prospects for countless residents and are helpful for international students looking at studying in Canada.

Labour market overview

Canada’s labour market is in a very unique position right now as we exit into a post-pandemic economy. These shifts include the rise in unfilled positions and the tightening of the labor pool.

According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, the number of unfilled positions in Canada surpassed 700,000 in June 2021, which was a 31% increase compared to the end of 2020. The sharp rise in vacancies in 2021 can be directly attributed to Canada’s recovering economy.

The survey reveals a steady rise in Canada’s job market between 2015 and 2018. There was a 53% increase in the number of job vacancies during that time period and it was the first time the number surpassed 500,000. During this time period, the unemployment rate in Canada fell from 6.7% to 5.8%. These job vacancies demonstrated that there was an increase in the need for new employees to join the Canadian workforce.

High demand for healthcare workers and skilled trades

Canada will need more than 200,000 healthcare workers and skilled tradespeople by 2030. Attracting talented workers to these fields is critical for Canada’s future. Careers in healthcare and skilled trades can be stable, high paying, and highly rewarding. International students looking to come and study in Canada should consider jobs in these fields post-graduation, especially as Canada is expected to have many job openings in these sectors.

During the pandemic, shortages of healthcare professionals such as nurses, doctors, personal support workers, and nursing home staff increased. Between 2019 and the middle of 2021, the number of open positions in the healthcare and social assistance industry increased by 70%. The healthcare and social assistance sector in Canada had nearly 110,000 job openings as of June 2021, according to Statistics Canada.

After graduating, some healthcare students may have the opportunity to be eligible for immigration through Canada’s Express Entry program. The Express Entry program allows skilled workers in specific fields to apply for rapid PR processing including registered nurses, practical nurses, doctors, social workers, and paramedics. 

Canada’s skilled trades industries are also in need of workers. Over the last six years, the number of open positions in Canada requiring a trade or apprenticeship certification has increased significantly. The number of skilled trade vacancies rose by 175% between the end of 2015 and the middle of 2021. In the next few years, there will be an increasing need for competent tradespeople as more than 700,000 skilled tradespeople are scheduled to retire in Canada in the next decade (Source: Employment and Social Development Canada).

Students who want to work or immigrate to Canada after graduating should consider exploring a skilled trades career path. Many skilled tradespeople can create their own firm and work for themselves, which provides them with a great deal of professional stability. The Express Entry program for Permanent Residency is open to skilled craftsmen as well such as electricians, plumbers, chefs, industrial mechanics, and bricklayers.

With ongoing labour shortages, international students have opportunity to find work placements and help contribute to a thriving Canadian society.

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