The Changing Canadian Workplace


The Canadian Workplace has changed tremendously from last few years. The new culture of the work force; all happening in a totally different environment than what it used to be is a matter of concern for many people. For some it has open wide gates of opportunities, for some it is troublesome in a way that they are getting new competition. The local residents, immigrants, aboriginals and even the women are affected by this change. There are many factors to the changing workplace,

Looming Retirement Crisis

The looming retirement of the baby boomers is a great cause of concern in the changing Canadian workplace. More than a third of the whole labour force is retiring over the next two decades, thereby creating awareness among employers to use the current labour pool more efficiently. The problem does not end here, each group of the work force has it’s own limitations. For example, the immigrants are facing problems relating to language and credential recognition, the aboriginals have to achieve higher educational levels than before, the women are not earning as much as men and also they are unable to secure the corporate level posts, and lastly old aged people, who are not able to get a secure job which would lead them to a smooth retirement.
The education has proved to be a dividing line; wealthier families are utilizing most of the sources that are needed to elevate one’s status in the society. The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing slowly and gradually for the past quarter century. Thus only the rich Canadians are able to get profits on the before-tax earnings. The middle-income and low-income are either able to earn from hand to mouth, or they are at the risk of going down the financial system towards poverty. Old Age Security & Canada child tax benefits are the two programs that could provide some ground to stand on, but these programs are not too helpful to live life without worries. The working adults are at greatest risk. The income assistance programs generate disincentives, which can be helpful in a way that the employment benefits may be outweighed by the loss of benefits like housing and health care. The cover of the pension plan is tremendously decreasing and thus the problem of saving for retirement is a matter of great concern per individual. Similarly, most of the Canadians don’t save for their personal use and this is creating insecurity for the forth coming generations. Even the fertility rate is not that high as required, thus there are lesser young people to cover this gap. But it is most unlikely that it would pose a threat, because the corporations are already planning to distribute the current pool of labour in such a way to minimize the effects of any slowdown.

Trends in Economic Growth

Howe Institute published recently, that immigration rates have to be 2.5 times their present level to maintain labour force growth. Although it is highly unlikely, if a slowdown occurs, the corporations will raise the employee wages to involve more people to increase their productivity. The rate of women workers is converging, but still there are many jobs in which women are underrepresented in most jobs and roles, especially at the management positions. Anemic productivity is a factor that greatly affects the Canadian economic growth. Productive rise has been slow in the ongoing decade; it is 1% annually. If mixed up with the current labour growth force which is merely 1%, implies that Canada’s potential to grow is very weak in coming years.
Canada has shown a fall of levels in terms of productivity among the original 20 nations, from 3rd to 17th in 1960. It is estimated that Canadian productivity level is 73.6% of the United States. Although much of the remedies have been already implemented, the problem still persists. Also, the shift from the manufacturing to service sectors is another change of trend in Canada. This trend-shift is prevalent in most of the developed countries where the industries like scientific and technical services, health care, food services and accommodation are outsourcing most of the work to emerging economies like India and China. These, no doubt, have created jobs in Canada, but that is not going to last long due to lack of labour in coming years.

Rising Educational Requirements

Studies have shown that maximum part of jobs in Canada over next five years will need post-secondary knowledge. Higher education is gaining grounds for working in most of the developed countries. Maximum of good jobs have gone into the pockets of college or university graduates, leaving behind those with school degrees. If this scenario is to continue, the multinational companies and corporations will look forward for more skilled and multi-talented person to come and join their office. This will lead directly to discarding the current pool of work force. Canada is now an international hub for both business and education; therefore there is greater competition for the Canadians, both from inside and outside the national borders. The education standard is raising so much, that even with high school grades, by which one could easily get into any good Canadian university; it is becoming difficult to clear the cut-off. Participation rate is declining drastically. Even the families are responsible for it. Some parents do not value the education as much as the wealthier families do, thereby increasing the gap of the rich and the poor, both in terms of income as well as education. The federal programs that were designed to alleviate these costs for lower income families are inefficient. It’s an astonishing and scaring fact that the higher income quartile students are benefitted with more subsidies (tax credits, monetary transfers, grants and student loans), thus proving that lower income quartile families are not making proper use of their privileges due to financial inefficiency and the failure of the transfer system to distinguish between wealthy and the needy. Thus there is a need to ensure that most of the Canadians should have access to higher education in any field, thereby preventing the educational barrier for barring them from the endless opportunities. The survey of Registered Education Savings Plan shows that families whose income is above $75000 annually hold maximum of its holdings. Many people do not consider this literacy problem as a threat, but it actually is; especially for the new immigrants, who have to first fit in the system, learn about the workplace, and also contribute to the Canadian economy as a whole. A study shows that immigrants are more likely to get a degree from Canadian college or university than Canadian residents.

Changing workforce compositions

There has been a great change in Canadian workforce composition. Most of them are coming from groups that are non-traditional like aboriginals, women, immigrants and even the elderly workers. The wage difference of men and women has been an issue since a long time now, but nothing remarkable has been done yet. But, women participation in the Canadian workforce is converging to men participation. The data shows that 47% of the workforce is constituted by women, thereby making Canada women driven nation (mostly). Most of the degrees are awarded to women, telling their majority enrollment in the universities. Also it has been proved that more than 50% percent of the women in Canada are holding higher education. Still the wage gap exists, which is a bit upsetting, inspite of all these statistics. Those countries which give equal privileges to women as compared to men prove that women either work equally to contribute to the economy, or they perform even better. Every fourth out of a hundred women work in part-time jobs for raising their child in a better way. With the aging of the Canadians, the Canadian workplace is bound to be filled up by the immigrants from throughout the world. Market outcomes indicate that the current force of immigrants is not able to integrate wholly in the Canadian workplace and that there is restlessness in the office relations between the Canadian born citizens and the immigrants. Education and language are the key factors for this difference and difficulty to incorporate oneself in a new environment. But the new rules that are being implemented are making it sure that only the cream enters into Canada, which means more skilled labour is being introduced in the market instead of unskilled labour; who come here and get trained to earn a living. Various policies are deployed by the government to ensure the all round safety of the immigrants. It is evident from various studies and surveys those skilled immigrants with additional knowledge of French and native English outperform their Canadian counterparts. Immigrants try their level best to get the highest qualification in their field of interest to serve to a better economy, which is not in the case of Canadian residents. As aboriginals are the fastest growing people in Canada, points to the fact that they would serve as the primary labour source in the coming decades.

Changing Trends in Work

Along with the structural changes, Canadian workplace has also shown a change in the kind and type of work done. Increase in the trend to flexible work and the shifting from the traditional primary manufacturing business to outsourcing and thereby creating a temporary arrangement is greatly affecting the kind of jobs available. Studies show that a Canadian worker has 3 careers to choose from and as much as 8 jobs in their working lives.
Nowadays due to this temporary arrangement, there has been a sharp rise of approximately 7% in the part time jobs over full time jobs than in the past. This raises a question in front of the government as to how they should handle such a situation and provide better work security to the workers. They have to work on this issue to convert the fluctuation in demand of the workers to a constant figure. There is a need to provide more benefits to contract workers, and if they perform well, they should be converted to permanent workers, thereby increasing job security, creating more space for those who are interested in the contractual jobs and thus boosting the economy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *