Canadian job vacancies have reached another all-time high

Edana Robitaille
Published: September 21, 2022

Statistics Canada has released results of the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey report for the second quarter of 2022. Overall, vacancies were up 4.7% from the first quarter of 2022 and 42.3% higher than the second quarter of 2021.

There are nearly one million job vacancies in Canada across all sectors, or an overall rate of 5.7%, an all-time high. Vacancies are calculated as the number of vacant positions as they correspond to total labour demand.

Beginning in the first quarter of 2020, the growth in labour demand has been exceeding growth in payroll employment, resulting in the current record high number of job vacancies.

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Wage increases in some sectors are not matching the consumer price index

The report found that the average hourly wage offered across all sectors has increased by 5.3 % over the second quarter of 2021. It currently stands at $24.05 per hour. This rise is different from the hourly average wages of all employees, those currently employed, which rose only 4.1 % in comparison.

These increases do not equal the rise in the consumer price index (CPI), a key measure of inflation. The CPI increased by 7.5% compared to the same period in 2021.

Jobs in five sectors were most likely to reflect a wage increase. The professional, scientific, and technical sectors saw the largest increase, 11.3%, to an average hourly wage of $37.05. Wholesale trade jobs average $26.10 per hour.

Conversely, retail trade job wages rose only 5.7%, lower than the CPI and the healthcare and social assistance rose only 3.6% over last year to $25.85. Overall, the majority of job vacancies are reporting hourly wages that are on par with, or below , the CPI for the second quarter of 2022.

Vacancies are rising in six provinces

Job vacancies rose in six provinces between the first and second quarters of 2022. Ontario saw the largest increase, rising 6.6% to a total of 379,700 job vacancies. Nova Scotia also experienced a rise of 6%. British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec saw rises between 5.6% and 2.4%

The only province to show a decrease in job vacancies was New Brunswick, which dropped 6.1% to 15,200 open positions. There was no notable change in the remaining provinces and territories.

There was an average ratio of 1.1 unemployed people for each job vacancy in Canada. This is down from 1.3 people for each job in the first quarter of 2022 and 2.3 people from the same time last year.

Quebec and British Columbia report only 0.8 people for each job vacancy. Conversely, Newfoundland and Labrador is outside the average at 3.3 unemployed people for every vacant job.

Vacancies per sector

Healthcare and social assistance

There was little change in the number of job vacancies in the healthcare and social assistance sector between the first and second quarter this year, 135,300 to 136,100, or almost 6%. However, it is up almost 29% from the second quarter of 2021. A shortage of staff has meant that some hospitals have had to reduce services, such as temporarily closing emergency rooms.

Manitoba is experiencing the highest job vacancy rate in the healthcare sector at 6.7%.

Accommodation and food services

Job vacancies in the accommodation and food services sector rose a significant 12.7% to 149,600 vacant jobs in the second quarter, or an overall job vacancy rate of 10.9%. This is the highest job vacancy rate across all sectors and is particularly pronounced in the Kootenay region of British Columbia.

Professional, scientific, and technical services

Jobs in this sector reached a high of 74,600 job vacancies, up nearly 8%, over the last quarter and 79% higher than it was in the first quarter of 2020. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and the surrounding area accounted for over half of these vacancies.

The largest rise was in occupations in the natural and applied sciences, at 13.3%. Tech occupations in the natural and applied sciences also significantly rose this quarter to 9.6%.

What does it mean?

The high job vacancy rate combined with the low rate of unemployment means some employers are having difficulties filling vacant positions and experiencing a longer hiring process. Through the second quarter there were only 44 people hired for every 100 vacancies. Canada’s labour shortage is expected to become more acute into 2030 as over nine million Canadians reach the retirement age of 65 and the birth rate remains low at 1.4 children per woman.

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