Top skills that will be most in demand in Canada in 2023

Canada is experiencing severe skills shortages in several key areas, experts say, thanks to factors including shortcomings in our education system as well as demographic changes.

After recovering from pandemic-era restrictions, the Canadian economy will see a record low unemployment rate in 2022, driven by severe labor shortages in many industries. But even if a recession were possible, experts say skills shortages in some sectors could continue.

Here are some of the skills that will be most in demand in 2023:


Rosalie Wyonch, senior policy analyst at the CD Howe Institute, believes that digital and STEM skills are “probably the largest category” of skills shortages in the Canadian workforce.

Back in August, the institute published a report calling for Canada to “increase the supply of people with digital skills”. Part of that involves accepting more immigrants with these skills to address the immediate shortage, something the federal government plans to welcome 500,000 immigrants per year. year in 2025.

In recent months, tech companies have also laid off thousands of workers, which has eased immediate labor shortages in the sector. But in the long run, Wyonch believes all levels of government need to strengthen digital and STEM education, not just at universities and colleges, but also at the elementary level, where math scores in particular is declining worldwide. nation.

“We need to think about really integrating digital skills in general and STEM skills at the elementary and high school levels so, you know, these gaps aren’t going to add up over time and we there’s already a good foundation of these skills all over the world, the entire population to then develop people at the post-secondary level,” Wyonch said.


There is a huge demand in skilled trades, as skilled trade workers are retiring faster than they are being replaced. According to the Ontario government, the average age of a skilled trade worker in Ontario is 47, but Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario, said the average age could be as high as the late 50s in some branch.

“This is something that has been going on for years and decades. But I think the pandemic has exacerbated that by posing a lot of other barriers and challenges,” Howcroft told by phone. phone on Friday.

In the residential construction industry alone, more than 128,400 workers across Canada are expected to retire by 2031, but only 102,100 workers are expected to enter the workforce according to a monthly report. 5 2022 from BuildForce Canada – a serious challenge as higher levels of immigration are imminent that will only increase demand for new homes.

Part of the work needs to be done, says Howcroft, to help young people become more aware of the kinds of opportunities that exist in skilled occupations, noting that there has long been a negative stigma associated with Skilled trades are “second-class occupations”. choice.” Last July, a survey from 3M Canada found that three-quarters of Canadians would never pursue a skilled occupation.

“In fact, these can be first-class career opportunities with great salaries, pensions, benefits. And again, what we want to do is make sure young people have the opportunity. explore these things,” Howcroft said.


For years, Canada has seen a chronic shortage of healthcare workers, and this situation has been exacerbated by COVID-19, which has resulted in long waits for patients and even closure of clinics. emergency room.

It’s a problem that can’t be solved simply with more immigration, as many internationally trained healthcare workers struggle to get through the bureaucratic process of obtaining a Canadian license to practice. in their field. Wyonch said she understands why Canada’s licensing standards need to be high, but suggests that overseas-trained healthcare workers could start in lower-level roles or roles. support to reduce the burden.

“There’s really no stepping stone or way for people to help address shortages in the health care system by being able to perform support or lower-level tasks without necessarily having a license. permission, but because of the legal or policy techniques they’re currently doing,” she said. “So I think the government could really look at easing the transition to the labor market for the immigrants that we’re bringing in.”

Space at medical and nursing schools also needs to grow as Canada’s population continues to grow and age, Wyonch said, noting that the healthcare system also needs to work to retain workers. motion.

“You know, it’s like running on a treadmill at an ever-increasing pace. If people burn out faster and faster, we can’t train to get rid of that problem,” she said.

Staffing shortages have pushed many healthcare workers to work longer hours, increasing burnout and stress. This has led some to quit the profession altogether, exacerbating shortages and creating a feedback loop. Data from Statistics Canada shows that one in four nurses plan to quit in the next three years.

“Obviously we need to ramp up registration to make sure we get enough people on board, but for those with training and experience, I think we can do more to avoid losing them,” said Wyonch. speak.

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