August 1, 2007

Canada faces labor shortage in 10 years

Here's a news article about Canada's Labor Shortage Problem.

OTTAWA -- Canada faces a possible labor crunch in as little as a decade as the number of baby boomers expected to retire far outnumber young people entering the job force, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

One out of every seven Canadians is now a senior citizen. In 2006, they accounted for a record high of 13.7 percent of the total population, surpassing 4.0 million for the first time, the government agency said.

Their numbers were up from 13.0 percent in 2001 and nearly double the proportion of 7.7 percent in 1956, according to the latest census. And the number of people approaching retirement age has hit a record high of nearly 3.7 million people.

In contrast, the number of children aged 14 and under declined 2.5 percent from 2001 to 5,579,840 in 2006, accounting for 17.7 percent of the population last year -- their lowest share ever in Canada.

This was down from 19.1 percent in 2001 and well below the proportion in 1961.

With barely enough young people entering the working age group to replace those approaching the age of retirement, Statistics Canada warned of "considerable challenges for Canadian employers and for society in general."

In the 1970s, for every person aged 55 to 64 years, there were 2.3 individuals in the 15 to 24 years age group. By 2001, this ratio had fallen to 1.4, and in 2006, it was down to 1.1.

This means that for each person leaving the working age group, there was just over one individual entering it, and the ratio is projected to continue sliding, Statistics Canada said.

The main factors behind the population aging are a low fertility rate and increasing life expectancy, the agency noted.

The fertility rate, which is now about 1.5 children per woman, has been below the replacement level of 2.1 since the early 1970s, while life expectancy of Canadians "increased appreciably" during the 20th century to 82.5 years for women and 77.7 years for men. []

Interested to live and work in Canada? Try our Free Online Assessment to know if you are eligible.