Vacancies in Canada have reached record highs. Exceptionally high vacancy rates have remained stable or increased over the five consecutive quarters. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business tracks employment and labor market statistics in the Help Wanted report. A recent report found that 433,000 jobs were left vacant in the Canadian private sector in the last quarter. The number of vacancies increased by 15,000 compared to vacancies in the same quarter in 2018.
The total number of vacancies has increased by 1,500 since the second quarter of 2019. Small businesses with fewer than five employees have the most difficulty finding candidates to fill vacancies. This trend means that industries made up of many small businesses have more vacancies than large businesses.
The highest percentages of unmet positions are in the personal service industries. The vacancy rate for occupations such as dry cleaners, funeral services and hairdressers was 4.9% between July and October in 2019.
The construction industry has the second largest need for employees with a vacancy rate of approximately 4.7%. Companies in the hotel sector have an average vacancy rate of 4.0%. The agricultural sector has an overall vacancy rate of 3.7%. The information sector posted a vacancy rate of 2.4% after a sharp increase in vacancies in the third quarter of 2019.
Many Canadian industries are experiencing a decline in vacancies and have very low vacancy rates. Natural resource industries have a tiny vacancy rate of 1.8%, while the retail sector is only slightly higher at 2.5%. Firms in the wholesale trade and transportation sectors posted consistently low job vacancy rates, at 2.8% and 2.6%, respectively.
Quebec still has the tightest job market in Canada with only 4% vacancy rate in the province. Ontario’s 3.2% rate is the national average. British Columbia has not seen much change in its labor market and continues to have a vacancy rate of 3.8%. Newfoundland, Labrador and the Prairies experienced a slight increase in vacancies, but the three provinces still have rates below the national average. No other province experienced labor market changes in 2019 during the second or third quarter.
Vacancy rates affect the wages of the entire Canadian workforce. A company with at least one vacant position tends to increase wages by about 2.3% across the organization. Companies with 100% employment capacity and no vacancies are expected to raise wages by 1.4% or less.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business analyzes several factors that influence the percentage of job vacancies in various industries. The most important factors include future prospects, company size and expected growth rates. Jobs that are unique to an industry or that require specialized skills are also a factor in vacancy rates.