Quebec is witnessing low unemployment rates and a record high number of vacant jobs. With an aim to address the shortage of labour being faced by the province of Quebec, both the provincial government and the federal government have adopted a number of measures, especially for supporting the immigrants who move to Quebec. A report released recently by the Institute du Québec points out that the pandemic has transformed the labour market of Quebec and new challenges have been brought forth by the public health measures which have exacerberated the labour shortages that have already been existing and brought forth new challenges.
“With a dwindling pool of potential workers and a considerable decrease in the labour market participation rate among those 55 and up, unless businesses, unions, schools and governments embrace a substantial shift in their approach to human resources management, the labour shortage will undoubtedly be the biggest obstacle to recovery,” warned Mia Homsy, Chief Executive Officer of the Institut du Québec, in a media release.
Labour challenges faced by Quebec
In the post-pandemic era, Quebec is facing a number of challenges with regard to labour supply. One of these is the aging population of the province and many workers are reaching their retirement age at a time of high job vacancies and low unemployment. The sectors that face a huge challenge in recruiting new employees are the accommodation, food services and retail industries. The crisis they face in this regard is so intense that they would even have to rethink their business models in order to survive.
As many jobs provide options for work from or go hybrid, less flexible are turning less attractive. So the employers are compelled to lower the hiring standards, especially with regard to academic credentials. So chances are high that educational requirements would not be as stringent as they were in the pre-pandemic era. At the same time, companies would also focus on providing opportunities for professional development and in-house training to the employees.
Further, more employers are looking for candidates with stronger reading comprehension, writing skills and problem-solving skills. It is predicted the demand for qualified workers would continue to grow in the province.
Attracting immigrants to Quebec
Quebec is taking a number of measures to address the labour shortages. These mainly include raising the immigration levels and making the process of hiring foreign workers simpler. The province will be welcoming 52500 new immigrants in 2022. A majority of these newcomers would come through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program and Quebec Experience Class Program. An additional 18000 newcomers would also be admitted as the province could not meet its immigration targets in 2020 owing to the pandemic. So, Quebec will be inviting more than 70000 newcomers in the current year.
High immigrant employment in Quebec
The report of Institut du Québec has pointed that immigrants have high instances of employment in Quebec. A high level of employment recovery was witnessed among immigrants who have been in Canada for less than five years. Employment rate among newcomers has risen to 76% in 2021 from 64% in 2019. The overall immigrant employment rate has also increased during this period, from around 78% in 2019 to 83% in 2021.