According to a TD Economics report released earlier this month, Saskatchewan leads the nation in job vacancy rates.
The report says the highest number of job openings are in the construction, healthcare, accommodation and food services, and retail trade industries. That being said, the report outlined that those are the top hiring sectors in every province across the country.
“So, it is not just that firms in the Prairies are seeking a different labour force skillset compared to other provinces, but the magnitude of employer demand is simply greater,” the report said.
Prabha Ramaswamy, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, said one of the factors in Saskatchewan’s job vacancy rates is a growing economy.
According to the report, the Real GDP growth in the Prairie provinces was at five per cent in 2022 and is tracking close to two per cent in 2023. Elsewhere in the country, provinces are looking at three per cent and less than one per cent during this same time period.
‘The high commodity prices have boosted economic growth here in Saskatchewan and in the Prairies, so there are more jobs, and we don’t have enough people,” Ramaswamy said.
“However, we know that the Government of Saskatchewan and Immigration Career Training have indicated that they’re working on some specific initiatives to enhance labour recruitment and retention.”
The report shows that Saskatchewan is not alone when it comes to high job vacancy rates as it is a common trend across the Prairies. Alberta was second behind Saskatchewan and Manitoba has the third-highest rate. The only other rate above the national average was in the Atlantic provinces.
“One of the big challenges here in our province, in Canada and globally is access to skilled labour and that includes recruitment and retention, so that is a challenge across the board,” said Ramaswamy.
The report says it is uncertain how long this trend will last. TD Economics is forecasting a slowdown in the economy over the next year, but as long as commodity prices remain high, the Prairie provinces could continue to see high vacancy rates.
As for the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, they are taking a proactive approach when it comes to the labour market.
“The Saskatchewan Chamber launched a labour market council in May comprised of our members from various sectors looking at what we can do to support employers in this regard,” said Ramaswamy.
You can read the full TD Economics report here.