New Study Sheds Light on Construction Labour Shortage Debate

While there is often some debate as to whether there actually is a labour shortage in Canada, a recent study by the Fraser Institute has found evidence that sheds light on where this confusion may be coming from. 

The Fraser Institute recently published a study entitled “Do Labour Shortgages Exist in Canada?” in which they try and determine the answer to a much debated topic. There is generally a difference of opinions between economists and business owners as to whether there is a labour shortage, and the study comes to a number of conclusions as to why there is this contention.

One of the reasons for this confusion is the fact that employers have developed more innovative ways to deal with the problem of labour shortages. According to the study, nearly 30% of Albertans work more than 50 hours a week and this highlights one of the measures employers are taking to deal with the lack of employees. Workers are being asked to work increasingly long weeks and to delay retirement and while this fixes the problem temporarily, it is not considered to be a sustainable solution. As a result, business owners argue that the reality of labour shortages in Canada is more serious than it appears.

Another cause of the debate is the record gap that exists between the unemployment rates of adults and youths. If the fact that employers do not regard younger workers as acceptable replacements for their aging workforce is taken into consideration, then the labour shortage is far more apparent. Reasons for employers disregarding younger workers can be explained by the increase in university attendance without an equal increase in the number of jobs available with a degree. It appears that employers do not consider today's youth to possess the required skills to fill their labour shortages.While there is often some debate as to whether there is actually a labour shortage in Canada, the Fraser Institute's study has shown there to be some clear reasons for this confusion. Employers have patched their labour needs with short-term solutions, such as increasing working hours and asking employees to delay retirement. Additionally, the high youth unemployment rate does not directly equate to available workforce as the majority of employers do not consider today's youth to have the necessary skills required to replace their older workers. The study concludes that more information is needed to show the amount that employers are spending on training and how much graduates are earning from various levels of study.

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